For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Thes 1:5)
Don't you wish you could write a letter like the apostle Paul writes a letter? I love the introductions he makes as he always thanks the addressee and lets them know that they are in his prayers. Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians is no different. As I type this, I am imagining how proud Paul must have been of his new believers in Thessalonica. The proud "papa"! :)
Paul thanked them for their well doing (v2-3) and reminded them that they were special to God. To me, Paul is an outstanding model of how a leader should shepherd his flock - with loving care. Can you imagine back in Paul's day what it would have been like to be a believer? Christianity was new and crazy stuff! There wasn't the internet or the Christian bookstore or Christian radio or TV to go to for answers. I wonder if they felt lost when Paul left them to carry on his work?
I'm thankful for leaders like Paul who take the time to really shepherd their flock. Like the new believers carrying out the work of the church in biblical times, members of modern day churches also need the same encouragement. We need the same reminders sometimes that:
1) We are chosen by God to complete His earthly work. (1 Th 1:4)
2) We are deeply appreciated by our pastors and leadership for all of the volunteer work that we do. (1 Th 1:3)
3) We are able to do what we've been called to do because the Holy Spirit is with us. (1 Th 1:5)
4) We really are noticed for the things that we do and the examples that we are. (1 Th 1:7-9)
5) The work we are doing is worth it. Someday we will again see Jesus. (1 Th 1:10)
Lord, help me to remember to put into action the thoughts I have regarding shepherding my faithful volunteers. Show me how to best remind them that they are equipped with the same power of the gospel and Holy Spirit that the Thessalonians possessed so many years ago. Help me to put their needs, concerns and growth before a desire to just get something done as efficiently as possible.