So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. — 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My friend Loretta was a true mentor. She would take a new convert under her wing and befriend and nurture her with all of her heart. Although Loretta was a busy person, she took time to go shopping, visit doll shows, make crafts, or talk on the phone with a new Christian friend in order to encourage her. There were times when a person Loretta was mentoring would stumble or turn away and then came the tears and heartache. But what joy she felt to see one of her friends begin to prosper in the Lord! Loretta’s efforts were a labor of love, and truly, an example of the ministry of encouragment.
This is a wonderful ministry open to all Christians. As we look around us, we are certain to see someone who is a new convert and is weak in the faith or who is hurting in some way. There is so much we can do to encourage others! On a smaller scale, we can smile, take a few moments to chat and show interest, or maybe send an uplifting note.
Sometimes, though, we need to do more. As we pray and ask the Lord to show us whom to mentor, we can invite that one over, get to know him or her better, spend time in prayer for that one’s needs, and check on them from time to time to make sure they are okay and help in any way we can.
It may take much prayer and service to see a soul saved. When that happens, the battle has only begun because Satan desires the souls of men and women for himself. God has promised victory, but He also expects the family of God to befriend and mentor. What a wonderful service it is to the Lord to be an encourager of souls! Let us take time from our busy schedules to do so, for there will truly be eternal value attached to such labors of love.
After receiving a good report from Timothy who had visited Thessalonica, Paul wrote this letter to the infant church there. It was with joy that Paul greeted the saints and assured them of his love and prayers for them.
Paul rejoiced that, although the little church faced much persecution, the believers there lived exemplary lives and endeavored to spread the Gospel to others. He then reminded them of the hope of Christ’s second coming.
Paul recalled the time when he and his companions were with the Thessalonians, and though they received opposition by some, they were faithful to preach the pure truth for the glory of God. Paul reminded them of the love he and his helpers had for the saints. Many hours were spent in gently guiding these new believers, and Paul and his assistants had been careful to be good examples of holiness. He compared their love for these new believers to that of a father for his children (1 Thessalonians 2:11).
Paul rejoiced that though this little body of believers faced suffering and persecution, they had received the truth and followed after it. Paul had a great desire to see the saints again but Satan was hindering. Paul knew they were in a spiritual warfare, but he felt joy at the expectation of final victory when he would see the saints as they were caught up together to meet the Lord in the air!
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Salutation: the writer and his companions, the recipients and their position, the double greeting (1:1)
II. Paul’s interest in the Thessalonians
A. Paul’s commendation of the Thessalonians (1:2-10)
1. The content of his commendation (1:2-8)
a. Summary prayer (1:2-3)
b. In detail (1:4-8)
(1) Their work of faith (1:4-5)
(2) Their steadfastness of hope (1:6-7)
(3) Their labor of love (1:8)
2. The cause for his commendation (1:9-10)
a. Their faith and love (1:9)
b. Their hope: its character and content (1:10)
B. Paul’s conduct before the Thessalonians (2:1-12)
1. Conduct in purity of motive (2:1-4)
a. In opposition (2:1-2)
b. In truth (2:3-4)
2. Conduct in purposeful labor (2:5-9)
a. In selflessness (2:5-6)
b. In gentleness (2:7)
c. In affection (2:8-9)
3. Conduct in purity of life (2:10-12)
a. In behavior (2:10)
b. In exhortation (2:11)
c. In result (2:12)
We are called to be examples of holiness and reach out to encourage those around us.