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1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13 (ESV)
Paul’s Longing to See Them Again
17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy. 3 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
Timothy’s Encouraging Report
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7 for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8 For now, we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Why do you think Paul called the Thessalonian church his crown and joy?
Precious Savior, I desire to have a relationship with You, worship You, serve others, and provide a good example throughout my life. These are all seeds that help me grow closer to you and help others know You as well. Living my life for You brings me fulfillment and joy. But there is no greater joy than watching the seeds of my efforts come to fruition when people come to faith in You. Paul compared it to the exhilaration of receiving the laurel crown after winning a race. The Thessalonian church putting their faith in Jesus was a joy and a great triumph for Paul. It is a great honor to be used in such a special intimate, critical, and eternal way. Many people in the world look to succeed through money, success, and power, but these are temporary. True success is in You, Jesus! The greatest achievement is being privileged to participate in the growth and increasing maturity of Your spiritual children and to bring glory to you through words, actions, and prayers. The secret of happiness is making someone else happy. Please give me the same kind of passion and love for sharing Your message to others as Paul had. Work in me to make a difference in our world by bringing the message of the gospel to the world. Amen