Today you should read: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-10
The church was created to be a “koinonia” which is the Greek word for a communal body that shares everything they have with each other. We are to live as unified brothers and sisters in Christ who are willing to bear each other’s burdens and will spend an eternity with each other worshipping Jesus together. You can see why it also hurts so much when people leave this “koinonia.” Sometimes it’s because of sin, rebellion and church discipline. Sometimes it’s because we feel like that church is not “meeting our needs.” Other times it’s because God is sending people elsewhere or it’s just a season of life. As a student pastor I saw this even more than most people as families switch churches, students come and go and graduates move away. And one thing that always intrigues me each time a person comes and goes is how they are doing now that we aren’t sharing life together within the church? Are they still following Jesus? Are they still pursuing holiness? Are they still striving to become biblical men and women? Are they still living on mission and sharing the Gospel?
In today’s devotion we see the apostle Paul having these similar thoughts about the church of Thessalonica. The apostle Paul is left alone at Athens and he misses the Thessalonica “koinonia” so much that he sent Timothy to the church to check on them (v. 1). I’m sure they were hurting without Paul as well. Paul sends Timothy to encourage them amidst afflictions (v. 2-4) and to make sure they were staying strong in their faith in fear that they may fall into temptation and that all of their Gospel ministry with them would be in vain (v. 5). Timothy comes back with a report in the next four verses that causes Paul to give thanks to God, experience joy and be comforted in his faith. I’m sure those reports weren’t always that great but these verses bring up something very important. As people come and go in our life through the church do we check up on them every so often?
I’ll be the first to confess that I’m convicted by my answer. When serving in student ministry it was very easy to focus on the new grade moving up, the new spiritual needs that popped up and the new visiting students that walked in that door. My mind constantly goes back to that season of ministry, wondering how that graduate is doing at college, why that 9th grader who went to camp would not answer texts anymore and how those parents are doing as they left the church amidst marital problems? Now it goes to those who may slip through the cracks as it’s easy to have little to no accountability with worship on Sunday morning via a screen. Maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking to you through His Word this morning for you to check in on some of those people and pray for them right now.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor
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