By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Paul wants the church to appreciate the work of those laboring to further God’s kingdom. While this is a task all members of the church are to partake in; we should not take for granted the effort of our brethren. I am thankful for the year of toil our ladies put into preparing for their 1st annual Ladies Lectureship Retreat. Their toil produced much fruit as it was one of the best attended events I have seen in some time. The reason Paul wishes for us to encourage and uplift each other is because sharing the Gospel with the world is not easy. It requires a motivated and caring person who is willing to step outside of their comfort zone.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (ESV): We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
As a church family, we are to be a refuge for each other in a world of turmoil. There should be a peace among Christians where we feel comfortable expressing and discussing any issue. The environment should be an honest place where we can let each other know when we believe someone can do better. We should give thanks in all circumstances because there is a blessing in each interaction; we have an opportunity to learn more about ourselves (and others) and we have a chance to grow. Paul is giving us the antidote to deal with depression, anxiety, grief, and sadness. We must learn to encourage each other throughout our endeavors and we must learn to appreciate each other in the good times and the bad. We cannot allow the Spirit to be quenched due to inaction, nor should we allow the world to steal anyone’s joy in the Lord. We have to focus on the good, while avoiding evil thoughts and deeds. This is the recipe for happiness, and as simple as it may seem; caring for others, communicating with God daily, avoiding evil, and being thankful in all circumstances will go a long way. We are to be the calm in the storm, the clarity through calamity, and the light in the darkness; giving thanks to the Lord for all He does.