1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
In this book of Thessalonians, Paul writes about his ministry/work of sharing the gospel of Jesus. But just because Paul was doing God’s work, doesn’t mean it was smooth sailing. He had opposition. He writes, “We wanted to come see you again… but Satan stopped us” (v18).
Paul knew that God had entrusted this work to him (2:4). He also knew that when things didn’t go according to plan, it was because he had an adversary, an enemy – Satan. Yet Paul kept going.
But how? What helped him? Verse 20 tells us: “You are our hope and joy!” Paul focused on those he had ministered to. He remembered how the Thessalonians had received the good news of Jesus and had turned from their idols (1:9). He remembered how their work was now also prompted by faith and love (1:3). Paul focused on how their lives were impacted by Jesus.
So when you get discouraged and wonder what kind of impact your ministry is having on those around you or you sense that the enemy is interfering, be like Paul, and actively remember those whose lives are now a little bit warmer to Jesus because of your works produced by faith and prompted by love (1:3). Maybe it was a prayer you said for them, a conversation, your kind words, a smile or generosity, etc. Whatever it was, be encouraged knowing that God is still at work through you, even though you may have opposition!
Father God, just as someone told us about the good news of Jesus, help us to keep sharing the good news with others in spite of opposition. May we remember the impact that Your gospel has on the lives of people!
Written by Gab Martin