Scripture

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20

Paul’s Longing to See the Thessalonians

 

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.

Reflection

The few verses above are part of a larger text, a letter from Paul to the Thessalonians. Paul was a mentor to the Christians in Thessalonica, as he was to many, many converts to Christianity. He was one of the greatest evangelists in history, but he didn’t stop at conversion. Paul spent much of his time training and mentoring people, and writing letters of encouragement and instructions those whose he couldn’t be near. It is a remarkable legacy. And though Paul did much of his work from jail, traveled far and wide, endured treacherous circumstances and was near death several times, he loved his work. He loved helping people come to know and love Jesus. The people whom he converted, mentored and trained were his “glory and joy.” 

This legacy, Paul left for us, is at the heart of the church. Leading people to know and love Jesus is at the center of our mission. This happens in big and small ways every day. And those who do this well, like Paul, find it to bring them great joy. Think about how you have come to know and love God. I bet there was someone along the way who helped you get to this place. And I bet it brought them great joy as well.

Read below about the joy found in mentoring, from one of our Big Hope Mentors.

By Angela Sexton, church member

"I have listened to people in our church talk for the past 5-6 years about the Big Hope mentoring ministry. I knew that I would become a mentor to a child in our community someday. I waited until I retired last year, but wish I would have made the commitment many years before. I could have worked around my work schedule and found an hour every week, easily. I just didn't know how important this mentoring would be for the child and for me! I started last fall and on my very second visit with my 3rd grader, I was shocked to hear her say that she missed me and that I was her best friend! I just met her the week before and talked to her, played with her, ate lunch with her and told her I would be back the next Monday.  I was so surprised to hear "I missed you and you are my best friend"! I told our Big Hope leaders about what my Little said, and they told me it was normal - she really needs someone to be there for her. I adore my Little and can't wait to be with her in 4th grade, 5th grade... forever, as long as she will want me in her life.” 

I encourage you to find a way to mentor someone today. It is at the heart of what it means to be a Christ follower.

Prayer

God, make me an instrument of your grace in the world. Show me how to be a servant to others in big and small ways. Bring people into my life who will love me unconditionally and help guide me with your wisdom. Give me a community where I may grow deeper in love with you and others. Show me the areas where I need to adapt, grow and mature, and let your Holy Spirit guide me on the path toward a deeper faith. Thank you for your daily grace and mercy. In the name of the Creator, the Savior and the Guide, Amen.