No Strings Attached
So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. ~1 Thessalonians 2:8
How much effort do you put into what you do? In the majority of business or professional situations, people have certain conditions, requirements, or restrictions that they place upon their effort or pledge. They will say, “I will do this if you do that.” We refer to these stipulations as having strings attached to our efforts. When there are strings attached, the tendency is that we do not give 100% effort. We might bail out of our commitment or project if these conditions are not met. This morning, we are looking at what I refer to as unadulterated effort. We are looking at effort that is not disingenuous and that gives more than 100% with no strings attached.
We see a prioritized ministry.
“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” In verse 4, Paul speaks about being entrusted with the ministry of preaching the gospel. The word ministry is a catchall word that generally refers to all labor and ministry for the Lord. However, in its purest and biblical usage, it is a word that is associated with the dispensing and preaching of the gospel message. Paul was called and set apart by God to preach the gospel and start churches. The utmost for us in ministry is preaching the gospel. All ministries should revolve around the preaching and promotion of the gospel. Anything other than this is watering down and redefining God’s priority for us and our local church. Paul made clear to the church at Thessalonica that he was put in trust with preaching the gospel.
We see a passionate motive.
“So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” Paul was extremely passionate for the people he preached the gospel to. He refers to his love for the Thessalonians as being affectionately desirous of them. They were on his heart day and night. He didn’t go to Thessalonica because it would give him popularity, increase his opportunity for success, enhance his résumé, or give him a large love offering. Paul had a special love that God placed in his heart for these people. He was so passionate for them that he was willing to impart, or give away, even his soul for them. This is a powerful way of saying, “I give it all so that you can be saved.” They saw it in his eyes, in his efforts, and in his enthusiasm. The greatest soulwinners are those who have unrestrained passion for the people they preach to.
We see the powerful means.
Talk can be cheap. Paul demonstrated how he gave it all. He speaks about laboring and travailing night and day for them. He uses the word travail, which is a term for mothers giving birth. He worked tirelessly. He worked non-stop. He speaks about being gentle among them as a nursing mother. He patiently helped them through their tough questions and pushback. He speaks about exhorting and charging them as a father does his children. Other men would have given up on these people, but not Paul. Other men would have charged for their labors, but not Paul. Paul was visible among these people. Paul was truthful among these people. Paul was compassionate, consistent, and committed to do whatever it took to reach these people and build a thriving church. Paul’s passionate motives were supported by his honest and heartfelt efforts.
We see the productive merchandise.
A church with a powerful testimony was started and being used of God. Everything that Paul did resulted in a church that became a model missionary church throughout Macedonia and Achaia. The gospel was mightily advanced throughout that area. Paul had no strings attached to his effort, and the result was a church that replicated what Paul was doing. This is the church planter’s reward.
Make sure your ministry is one with no strings attached. Give your best, your all, and even your soul in trying to win people to Christ.
Have a gospel-empowered God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Ephesians 1-3