March 9 - 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9 - 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

After Paul, Timothy and Silas left Thessalonica, they went to Berea, where the same people who had threatened them, followed to continue their threats.  So, Paul left from there and went to Athens.  Silas and Timothy went back into Macedonia (Thessalonica) while Paul went on to Corinth.

Paul knew things were bad for the Thessalonians. They were being persecuted for their faith and there was nothing he could do about it.  He wanted to be with them, encouraging them and strengthening them, but even though he tried, he couldn't find a way to get there.  He and Silas sent young Timothy when he could bear it no longer.  He needed to know that someone he trusted was with that young church to help them stand strong in the face of opposition and when he could, Timothy would bring news back to Paul that all things were good there.

I can’t imagine not having ready access to immediate communication. How would we take it if we were required to wait days, even weeks to get any news.  One of my first jobs was a six hour drive from home.  I spent a lot of time on the telephone with my mother and when things were difficult or scary or awful, we spent even more time on the phone.

One night, a tornado was coming through town.  Though I knew I shouldn't  I called her, pulled the phone cord into the bathroom and sat down in the tub.  I made her stay on the telephone with me while the storm passed.  I wanted someone to know if I was dead or blown away.

Mom was always insistent that we check in with her when we traveled.  There was nothing that could get me in trouble any faster than if I didn't let her know where I was in a reasonable amount of time.  I didn't have a curfew in high school because she trusted I would always let her know what I was doing, who I was with and where we were doing things.  Well, when I was living on my own, one weekend my parents drove to Minneapolis to look into purchasing the printing franchise.  It was February of that year and we had talked all weekend long about the things they were learning and the possibilities for the future.  I knew when the left the Twin Cities and headed home, then, knowing that Mom and I always talked, waited up for a phone call.  When I didn’t hear anything at ten o’clock, then eleven o’clock and then midnight, I began to worry.  One o’clock came and went, and still they weren’t answering their phone at home (1984, no cell phones).  I was prepared to do anything to find them, including getting in my car and driving for six and a half hours to get home, then start searching backwards.  Finally, she answered at two twenty.  I yelled at her.  She laughed at me – told me that turnabout was fair play.

Paul needed to hear from the Thessalonians and what that was going to require was sending Timothy back into the fray.  He didn’t love them only when he was living among them. He loved and worried about them because they had become his family.