“…for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.” -I Thessalonians 3:7
The Apostle Paul reflected upon the toils and troubles of gospel ministry. Jesus told us we are not above our Teacher, whom the world persecuted and therefore will persecute us (John 15:20). We suffer in the footsteps of He who suffered for us (I Peter 2:21) and we shouldn’t be surprised to suffer (I Peter 4:12). In the sharing of our Lord’s afflictions, we are blessed (Matthew 5:10-12).
In his letter to the church family in Thessalonica, Paul said that the stress of his ministry was comforted from the report from pastor Timothy regarding their faith. John echoes this when he said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (III John 1:4).
Pastoral ministry involves real lives, real sins, real marriages and families. There is much pain involved, including accusations and injury from words from those who delight in inflicting pain and division. Yet, I have discovered the joy of all joys: to see a strong church family who truly loves one another and delights in Christ together!
And this is my plea to you, my beloved flock: delight in the Lord. Come and assemble on Sunday mornings yearning to delight in Him together. Come and be encouraged in the faith, then encourage each other in the faith. This brings comfort and joy to the pastors, which makes this difficult calling of watch care for your soul a joyful duty to our Lord, which is a benefit to the church (Hebrews 13:17). This love is God’s means of grace of delight and comfort for the whole church. This love displays the power and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.
Heavenly Father, with gratitude we praise You for the unity of our church family. We thank You for the love we share. We pray that Jesus may increase, and we may decrease, that You would be glorified in Your people. We ask for Your mercy to treasure You more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.