August 27, 2019
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 27 August 2019
Living in anticipation of the Lord’s return is the primary theme of 1 Thessalonians. The letter begins with a reminder of how radical a change the gospel message has upon those who believe (trust) the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel message includes essential facts with regard to the person, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Verse 10 of chapter 1, however, indicates an additional component that was proclaimed with this message. Believers are instructed “to wait for [God’s] Son from heaven, who [God] raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” The reason for a believer to have this anticipation is because it encourages us to seek spiritual maturity and godly living. Longing for the Lord’s return has a maturing and purifying effect upon the lives of God’s people.
Living in anticipation of the Lord’s return promotes spiritual maturity among believers (1:2-10). Specifically, this maturity is evident in one’s work, labor, and endurance (vv. 2-3), and an increasing reputation of faith toward God (vv. 4-10). Such anticipation also motivates servant leadership, which is evident in one’s motives (2:1-6), concerns (vv. 7-12), and affections (vv. 13-20).
Paul’s servant leadership is readily apparent in his care and concern for others (v. 17). He attempted to come see those who needed him, but “Satan hindered” (v. 18). Paul used a military term (“hindered”) that designated an advancing enemy who was preventing him from reaching those who were his “hope” and “joy” (vv. 19-20). At the return of Jesus, they will be his “crown of exaltation” (v. 19). The servant leadership exhibited here is the result of empathy for the wellbeing of others (cf. 2:19-20). Paul recognized he would not be able to reach those whose wellbeing was his concern (3:1). Therefore, he sent a “fellow worker” (Timothy) instead so that he could “strengthen and encourage” (3:2). “Fear that the tempter might have tempted” these believers was the reason why Timothy was sent (3:5).
A servant leader will be entirely honest with others (3:3-4). In the Thessalonian epistle, such honesty meant warning believers that the difficulties they were enduring was predestined. The difficulties were not a probability; rather, they were a certainty. Jesus stated similarly, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Second Timothy 3:12 instructs, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” All true believers whose desire is “to live godly” will experience challenges, and the positive response to those afflictions will be evidence of the reality of faith (trust) in the Lord.
Servant leaders are delighted to know that those they lead are doing well. In the Thessalonian epistle, the Apostle Paul received “good news” from Timothy (1 Thess 3:6), which “comforted” him (v. 7) and caused him to “really live” (v. 8). Whatever kind of service to which God has called, be wise by acknowledging the Lord’s grace and “not to think more highly of [self] than [one] ought to think” (Rom 12:3; cf. Eccl 7:16). Servant leaders must be emphatic toward others and to consider their welfare of utmost importance. One manner to demonstrate empathetic conduct for others is to pray for one another (1 Thess 3:9-13). A great manner to pray for elected officials – in obedience to Scripture – is to use Capitol Commission’s prayer site: Pray1Tim2.org.
Your Missionary to Our Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.