Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. ~1 Thessalonians 3:7-8
The health care industry developed a term to describe a patient whose deteriorated health demands ongoing maintenance and pain relief. This is referred to as “comfort care,” and is generally associated with a hospice care setting. However, in 1 Thess. 3, we see comfort care applied in a spiritual way to describe the comfort Paul had in his heart in hearing the good news of the spiritual development of the believers at Thessalonica. In this chapter, we see what the heart of a pastor, discipler, and spiritual mentor should be for new and growing Christians. It is the kind of heart that must be developed in each of us.
We see Paul in his reversals.
“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;” Paul was used of God to start a thriving church at Thessalonica. However, the Jews who opposed him followed him to this city, and stirred up other Jews to also oppose him. The persecution became so intense that Paul had to leave. He speaks about being left in Athens alone. He speaks about when he could no longer forbear. In other words, the suffering and trials became unbearable, and it was better for him to stay in Athens alone. Reversals are when our situation becomes adversarial and difficult. Reversals are when people hate us, and even want to kill us! Reversals are when we are alone by ourselves.
We see Paul in his responsibility.
In spite of Paul’s reversal, it did not change his heart and concern for the believers at Thessalonica. “For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” The heart of a pastor and discipler is to know the faith disposition of the believers he is responsible for. He is concerned if they ae discouraged. He is concerned if they are walking with God. He is concerned if Satan has gotten an advantage over them. Are you concerned about the growth and walk of others? When you are not with them, are they on your mind?
We see Paul and his representative.
“And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith.” Paul couldn’t be there to check on these converts. However, he sent someone who had his heart, and represented him as if he was there. That man was Timothy. Paul describes him as a man likeminded as Paul. Timothy served with Paul as a son with his father. What a blessing to know that Timothy caught what Paul had, and was able to discern the faith of these believers and to also encourage them in their growth.
We see Paul and his relief.
“Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith.” Paul’s heart was gladdened and encouraged that these converts were living for God. He was concerned for them as a father or mother is for their little children when they are physically away from each other. Paul is greatly comforted in Timothy’s good report. These believers were growing and standing fast in the Lord! What a joy it is when a pastor knows his flock is standing fast and growing strong.
We see Paul and our receiving.
“For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” Paul was saying, “My life is about your faith!” For now we live! It gave him encouragement. It gave him a new shot in the arm. What makes you live? What are you living for?
Paul was comforted through his care for the welfare of other believers. Let us care for the spiritual welfare of those whose lives we are entrusted with.
Have a comforted God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 21-23