Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 (NIV)
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
These few verses could solve a lot of church problems! When Paul describes the people “working among you” as those “who care for you in the Lord” he is talking about Sunday School teachers, Bible study leaders, pastors and anyone working to help you grow in your faith. He also gives practical advice like warning “the idle and disruptive” and encouraging the “disheartened”. I love that Paul puts all these so close together because they are all tied up in being a congregation. We are all in this together doing the work together. Where do you fit in? Or how can you love others and be an encouragement? While you may be working hard for the church, are you disruptive? While you may be encouraging others, are you idle? Could you help teach others about the faith? We always need more Sunday School teachers or Bible study groups! (And keep praying for the “interests of others” – Phil. 2:4)