What is your natural reaction when things get difficult? When trouble and problems arise, do we tend to shut down and pull back? That is often the case for many of us, me included, but here in our reading today we hear Paul saying that when he came and preached to the people of Thessalonica, things had already been pretty difficult. Paul was “shamefully treated at Philippi”, but nevertheless, he came and preached boldly to these people in this city. Paul’s work was not dependent on the reaction he got from people, but rather, he was seeking to please God! So he preached with all his heart, giving himself to these people with compassion, not for their sake, but for God’s.
Here at Lewis Lake we seek to love people, and people are usually quite wonderful. But we must not let our work be dependent on getting a great response from people. We are doing this work for God first and foremost. We are not trying to please people, but it is the Lord that we are wanting to honor and it is His approval that we long for more that anything.
And so, if things do not always go so swimmingly, we do not shut down or pull away. Rather, we continue on with boldness, not serving others in some mechanical way, but giving “our own selves” to one another (v.8). This is how Paul functioned among the people of Thessalonica, and it is how we can function here at Lewis Lake as well. Let the Lord be the One who you serve this day and you will find strength to move forward, even if you get “shamefully treated”.