This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13:
“Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”
(1 Thessalonians 2:9–13, NIV)
I must admit that sometimes I feel a need to respond when someone speaks to me in a kind way. I want to return generosity with an equal offering.
I don’t think this is a bad tendency, even if it is sometimes difficult to maintain. Among other things, I think it highlights a difference between the power and clarity of a single voice, and an extra dynamism that occurs when people talk and share with one another in a more personal way.
Illustrated theologically, one might first describe an individual speaking out for a religious cause with persuasive words. But something more gets added when that same person converses with God through prayer.
The Apostle Paul is indicating such a difference in his letter to the Thessalonians. He is teaching that we are completely dependent upon God’s graceful action as the true, persuasive power within our attempts at a supportive witness. It reveals how God speaks, conveying much more than what anyone could ever hope to express on their own.
This might also be illustrated through music. For example, like how kind words might define and describe God’s grace by anyone – but surrounding and lifting the same words within a lyrical melody might also highlight their power in an even greater way...