WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – You may do a good job of keeping up with all the people who have been important to you in the past. I’ve been terrible at it. And it’s not because I don’t love them deeply. I just get so completely focused on what God has me doing in the present that I don’t think enough about the past.
Paul definitely had me beat on this. He spent only a few weeks in Thessalonica. In that short time, he introduced the gospel, led maybe a few dozen people to Christ, suffered persecution with his new converts…and came to love them.
In the two years after he was driven out of town by threats on his life, he had fruitful ministries in Berea, Achaia, Athens, and Corinth. He planted other churches along the way, but the Thessalonians never left his heart. He prayed for them “night and day” (1 Thess. 3:10).
Finally, “When we could no longer stand it, we thought it was better to be left alone in Athens. And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you … I also sent him to find out about your faith, fearing that the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be for nothing. But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love. He reported that you always have good memories of us and that you long to see us, as we also long to see you” (1 Thess. 3:1,2,5,6).
Paul could devote himself to a year and a half of challenging work in Corinth knowing that his friends in Thessalonica were doing well and that they still loved him.
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – At several important times in my ministry, someone from my past has knocked on my door or called or emailed me. Three years ago, two of the people dearest to me from four decades earlier called to meet Judy and me for lunch as they passed through Dallas. I will never forget the moment I walked into that restaurant and saw their faces for the first time in years. I discerned spiritual health despite challenges, and I saw love in their eyes that hadn’t diminished in all that time. It made a difference in me and still does.
Who do you need to check on or to check in with? Who do you need to reach out to? It made a difference to Paul and to the Thessalonians. It could make a difference to you and to the ones you reconnect with.
One more point: Don’t be like me and think, “I ought to do that,” and then never get around to it. I’ve already identified someone I’ll contact tomorrow. How about you?