We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Thessalonians 1:3 NIV)
This is an incredible description of life. We work because we believe there is a God and that our work is an act of worship that honors Him. The word translated labor could also be translated struggle. Work is often not easy and to continue it must be motivated by love, God’s love for us and our love for others. It is often said that life is a marathon and not a sprint. There are times when the race is easier than others, but the race is long, and it is essential to keep our eyes on the hope of Jesus waiting at the finish line.
They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead– Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1Thessalonians 1:9b-10 NIV)
My father turned 89 on Monday. He frequently shares this quote with me. Waiting is not something either of us does well.
“If you can wait and not be tired of waiting”― Rudyard Kipling, If: A Father’s Advice to His Son
Paul doesn’t just encourage and acknowledge waiting, instead he encourages serving and waiting. Serving takes an infinite number of forms, but Paul wants the Thessalonians to know that they are not to be passive as they wait for Jesus to come again. The unbelieving world has no hope. Instead, they ignore the wrath to come and seek pleasure in the now because that is all there is to them. As believers we serve with joy as we eagerly wait with great anticipation for what comes next.
To my grandchildren:
Learn to wait well and with joy in anticipation of what you’re waiting for.