1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (NRSV)
1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake.
6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the deadJesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.
We continue to reflect on this week’s theme of keeping God the main thing. When we keep God the main thing, we can’t help but be an example of God’s love. The Apostle Paul notes that faithful behavior begins a chain of right living that results in sharing of the gospel.
In these days of unrest and great division, feelings of hopelessness and aloneness can cause one to stay silent in the face of evil. It’s much easier to leave it up to the “more passionate” and “well-suited” to hold the mantle of justice. But just as God doesn’t leave anyone out of the reach of the kingdom, we are not left out of God’s expectations that we become an example for others as we serve this living and true God. And here’s the thing: we’re not alone. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, just watch that chain reaction of love!
Come, Holy Spirit, come, and inspire us to hold high the mantle of justice as it spreads throughout your world! Amen.