April 2nd, 2007
There’s a fairly widespread myth to the effect that following Jesus is mainly about not doing bad things. Instead of living a lifestyle defined by what you do, you end up living a lifestyle defined by what you don’t do. But in reality, living a life worthy of God is not about ensuring that you don’t break the rules; it’s about knowing God’s purpose for you in life and orienting your life to the fulfilment of that purpose; it’s about seeing the hope of the bright future which Jesus offers and becoming a beacon of that hope to the people around you; it’s about experiencing the love which Jesus has for you and allowing it to overflow and spill onto everyone you meet.
Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians — Chapter 2
2:1 Friends, you know that our visit to you was not wasted. 2:2 We had previously suffered and been abused in Philippi, as you know, but God gave us boldness to tell you the Good News of God in the face of aggressive opposition. 2:3 Our message did not arise through delusion, or decadence, or deception. 2:4 God chose to entrust the Good News to us, so we speak, not to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 2:5 We never used flattery, as you know and God is our witness, and our actions were never a pretext for greed. 2:6 We did not seek glory from people, you or others, 2:7 when we could have claimed authority as apostles of Christ. We were gentle among you, like a mother nursing her children.
2:8 We cared for you so much that we were happy to give you not just the Good News of God, but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. 2:9 Friends, you remember our efforts and exertions. Working day and night to avoid being a burden to any of you, we preached to you the Good News of God. 2:10 You and God are witnesses how holy and righteous and innocent we were towards you believers. 2:11 As you know, we urged and encouraged and called upon every one of you, as a father does to his children, 2:12 to live lives which are worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 2:13 So we never stop thanking God that when you received the message of God which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as a message of human origin, but as it really is, the message of God, which is working in you believers. 2:14 Friends, you followed the example in Christ Jesus of God’s churches in Judea. You suffered the same persecution from your own people, as they did from the Jews, 2:15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and chased us away. They do not please God, and they oppose everybody, 2:16 stopping us from speaking to the Gentiles so preventing them from being saved. They are always full of sin. But vengeance has come to them in the end.
2:17 Friends, we were separated from you for a short time, in presence, not in heart. This made us even more eager to see you as we longed to. 2:18 We wanted to come to you, and I, Paul, tried more than once, but we were prevented by Satan. 2:19 What is our hope, our joy, our crown in which we rejoice in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 2:20 You are our glory and joy.
Entry Filed under: Generosity