READ : 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5
We sent Timothy . . . to establish and exhort you in your faith. (v. 2)
Twice in this passage Paul mentions not being able to bear it any longer. Bear what? The anxiety of his concern for the young church of Thessalonica. He yearned to know how they were doing, and whether they were struggling in their faith. Though Paul had moved on geographically in his missionary journeys, his mind and heart were still with the Thessalonians. He understood that growing the church wasn’t just about converting people and forgetting them. He knew from painful personal experience that becoming a Christian in that day and age would eventually bring suffering, the kind of suffering that the Evil One could use to jeopardize the faith of new believers.
An avid gardener knows that growing something requires a lot more than just putting seeds in the ground. Nurturing plants to their full fruit-bearing potential requires care and vigilance. The gardener knows that the seeds contain the power to grow into what they were destined for, but it would be naive to assume the seeds won’t need any care or protection along the way. The gospel has its own power in the lives of believers, but we all need to be nurtured and carried forward by the tender care and concern of those who are lovingly invested in us as we grow into mature disciples of Jesus who bear fruit. Who has nurtured you this way? And who might need you to nurture them?
Loving God, thank you for empowering us to help each other grow in faith.