1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13; Isaiah 17-19; Psalm 114
In America the tabloids follow the romantic efforts of stars from the first moment they lay eyes on each other, to their whirlwind romance and all the way through their messy divorces. Unfortunately those two intense months of courtship and marriage set the standard for most people when it comes to love. What the tabloids rarely cover are the stories of couples who meet each other, fall in love, get married and stay married for 40 or more years. They don’t understand the true love that brought them together and that grows each and every day. When Jesus compared His relationship with His people as a wedding, He understood the concept of a love that keeps growing.
Jesus talked about people recognizing that we are His followers by our love for each other. Paul understood that concept too. The love we have for each other as followers of Christ should grow deeper and deeper each day. As Paul was writing the church at Thessalonica, he highlighted the love that they had: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” As followers of Christ, our love for each other should grow and increase each day. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians by noting that not only that their love should grow more deeply every day, but also that they were loved and that Paul’s love for them was growing too.
I wonder if Paul could write this letter to our churches today. Even more, I wonder if Paul could write this letter to me. The love in my church won’t grow as it should unless I am loving others as I should. When I act in my church, among my fellow believers, am I showing the love I need to be showing to my brothers and sisters? Do I take an imperious attitude thinking I am better than any of those other brothers and sisters? Do I take pride in the fact that the church depends on me? (And just a note: I know that no church depends on one person or family.) Oh, that my life could be such an example that Paul could write: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as Bob’s does for the believers.”