…encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians [2:12]
Around 50 AD, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a church in Thessalonica that he had founded just three months earlier. The letter today is called 1st Thessalonians in the New Testament. The letter’s purpose was to instruct those in the church to not give up their Christian values, despite outside temptations and persecution.
The church was under siege by external influences (and even some from within), attempting to get them to compromise their values. As a new church, there were growing pains. Paul’s letter encouraged the church members to stay their course and not let temptation affect their actions. While the tone of this letter was one of encouragement, it also included reminders to live lives worthy of God.
Over the last few years, I have become friends with a man who has had some remarkable challenges in his life. After struggling for the first few years of his career, he recently found success. He is now earning significantly more than he had in the past and has been promoted twice in the last three years. He bought a home, and life was good.
But when he first arrived at his new company, many encouraged him to take a few shortcuts. He was challenged to bend a few rules and was told not to worry about getting caught. He listened quietly, knowing it was the wrong approach, and silently refused to comply.
This caused some ripples with his co-workers, but he held on to his beliefs. Sure, he missed a few sales because he didn’t mislead potential customers. But the customers he did land became loyal because of his honesty. Slowly, his sales numbers grew, and he was soon bringing in more business than those taking shortcuts. He was asked to help train new salespeople. Those he trained also started to do well.
One of the senior vice-presidents noticed not only that his sales were great, but that those who had attended his training classes were exceeding their goals as well. He was called into his boss’s office and told he would be promoted—they were putting him in charge of training all the new salespeople.
After his early years of struggling and trying to find the right job, it seemed my friend had found a perfect fit. The struggle to make ends meet became a distant memory. Simply being honorable and not giving in to temptation has paid off.
I enjoy talking with my friend. I love hearing his low-key and humble approach to his work. He doesn’t brag about his accomplishments. Instead, he humbly gives credit to God for all he has accomplished. He doesn’t think he is remarkable. Yet he is: despite outside influences, he stays the course of honesty. His lesson to me is that being great at work is achieved simply by adhering to Christian values. This might seem boring, but living this way every day takes personal inner strength.
This was Paul’s point to the Thessalonians: simply live lives worthy of God. However, some days it takes encouragement and endurance to continue living that kind of life. And Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is designed to remind us even today to stay the course in following Jesus.
Today, I encourage you to read 1st Thessalonians and become uplifted. It will only take fifteen minutes to read, and the letter serves as a reminder that trials will always exist, but when we live lives worthy of God, we will endure.