The Inside Column 23/06

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jun 24, 2019 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshiping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

Today we continue working through Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, focusing on Paul longing to see them. Paul only had a few weeks with these new converts to the faith before he was forced to leave in the middle of the night, yet he has formed a deep attachment to the people. Paul and Silas then continued on their journey to Berea. (See Acts 17) This is Paul’s second missionary journey that took him through much of what we now call Turkey and Greece. All together Paul undertook three such journeys before he was finally sent to Rome for trial, imprisonment (where he wrote many of his letters) and finally execution.

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he lists all the trials that he faced on these journeys (2 Corinthians 11). Five times he received 39 lashes, three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned and three times he was shipwrecked. He also faced bandits, opposition and numerous geographical trials yet he still stayed true to his mission. Would we have endured so much for our faith? Apart from these physical trials there were spiritual trials too; deep disappointments and disillusions, splits in community and arguments with fellow workers, and as we hear today, the frustration of being blocked by Satan from returning to visit these fledgling churches. Yet through it all Paul’s main concern was for the new churches, all the people that he had reached for Christ and the trials they were also now experiencing.

We are not all called to be missionaries and apostles but we are all called to be co-workers in Christ carrying out the works that God has prepared for us to do. Everything we do is important, valued and appreciated even if much of it goes unseen and unknown by others. What appears easy for one person can be very difficult for another. There are always frustrations and hard times mixed in with the joys and glory that we share because of our faith in Christ. Paul shows us the more our faith is tested the stronger it becomes; we just need to keep moving forward.

So we journey on knowing that Jesus walks with us and that we can be strengthened and encouraged by our fellow travellers; for as Paul teaches we are all one body under the headship of Christ. May God continue to bless and encourage us all as we work together in His kingdom.

Yours in Christ

Yvonne

 

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