April 21, 2014
READ: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
Be patient with everyone (v.14).
If you had the opportunity to handpick the members of your local church or small group, would you choose people who always . . .
• fail to do what they’re supposed to do?
• give you 10 reasons why your ideas won’t work?
• find it hard to consistently do God’s will?
I’m guessing you answered no to each one of those questions. Like you, I’d like to be among ideal people. But that’s not realistic.
At first glance, the church in Thessalonica seemed like an ideal church. The people in the church were a model of “faithful work”, “loving deeds” and “enduring hope” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). But we read that the church also contained people who were lazy, timid, weak and wearisome (5:14).
The apostle Paul told his readers, in essence, “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to get involved in the lives of these ‘less than ideal’ people.”
“Warn those who are lazy.” The word translated “warn” is an exceedingly strong Greek word that literally means “put into the mind”. It means to talk sense into another person during a face-to-face confrontation—a situation most of us want to avoid at all costs.
“Encourage those who are timid.” The word translated “timid” literally means “small-souled”. They fear failure. They lack boldness. These people need someone to come alongside and pour courage into them.
“Take tender care of those who are weak.” The words translated “take tender care” mean to hold firmly, to support, to build them up.
Linus from the Peanuts comic strip once explained: “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand!” It’s easy to feel that way and that’s why we need a great deal of patience. May God help us as we strive patiently to love people well.
—Poh Fang Chia
365-day plan› 1 Kings 21:1-29
Read Galatians 5:22 and consider what God is doing in us as we exhibit patience.
What situations try your patience the most? How can God’s patience with you inspire you to be patient with others?