Proper 26 (31) (November 5, 2017)
- First reading and Psalm
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 | New Living Translation (NLT)
Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers. And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
This week we are again in Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica. Again we have a relatively short passage. This is a interesting passage in that Paul reminds the church that while they were there they spent time earning their own keep. As a church planter, Paul and the team did not want to be a burden to the fledgling church. As I think about how that applies to any of us who are in the ministry – a pastor should be paid a fair wage, but should never be a burden on the ministry. Some might ask where that line is? I’m not sure. I think it depends on the church. Over the last 20 years of ministry, I have only been single vocational for about 4 years. The other sixteen years have been bi-vocational. However, just because Paul and the team were bi-vocational, that didn’t mean that their hearts were any less into it. Listen to Paul’s words:
We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live you lives in a way that God would consider worthy, For He called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
This gives a good picture of the role of a minister. Again a minister or preacher is not one with fancy and clever words, and mere human ideas, but from his lips should be the very Word of God. That Word of God then continues to do its work in the lives of the believers. Paul, Silas and Timothy preached God’s Good News to the churches and the churches responded by sharing the God’s Good News with others and by sharing in God’s glory. This is a great example of the relationship between the minister and the church. It is a partnership – together for the Gospel.