2 Thessalonians 3:13-18 (ESV)
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Paul wraps up his second letter on a positive note, praying for them and certifying his letter. This was probably especially important because of the major change in tone from his first letter to the same church.
What does this mean for us, today? First, we must not grow weary in doing good. Just like the church in Thessalonica, it is tempting to just give up and not bother. The government will take care of us. But that is not the responsibility of the government. We must care for ourselves. We must earn our living. When we have difficulties, we should seek help first from our brethren in the church. We must also be willing to help others, especially our church family.
Second, very soon, it will become more and more difficult to live according to the Scriptures. We must band together to accomplish this and to help one another to remain encouraged and holy. Then we must reach out to those who are struggling, to help them to become interdependent, but not dependent upon the government. (See yesterday’s devotion for context).
Finally, God has blessed us tremendously with a church family that cares for each other, and as time goes on, this will become more important. So foster the relationships in the church. Get to know one another more deeply. Share life together. If your small group has stopped meeting, start again. If not, start a new one. We all truly need each other. We need the encouragement that we get when we have close and deep relationships with others.
May the God of Peace bring each of us peace and comfort.
by Virgil Stripes
Photo: Mosaic of marketplace (Jerusalem)