Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you. You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers. And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NLT
What a contrast these disciples who worked and toiled day and night to provide for themselves must have been to the richly clothed, well fed priests of the day who were provided for by their followers.
And how much of a contrast were their devout and honest and faultless lives in comparison to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees that Jesus spoke so strongly against.
And how much of a contrast was their pleading, urging and encouragement for the people to live lives in a way that God would call worthy, as opposed to the religious leaders expecting a sinful people to remain under the controls of the religious systems that gave them power and authority to rule.
Isn’t this passage a beautiful picture of the missionaries churches of today across the globe – that show us that close, personal reflection and similarity to the way Jesus and the disciples went about their way, their life example, of spreading the truth at great cost and sacrifice of themselves?
Isn’t the demonstrated cost of discipleship and a life of bearing burdens and even martyrdom such a harsh contrast to many “American Christian” lives of comfort and complacency? How quickly do we forget that even today, people are being martyred for their faith, at great personal cost and sacrifice, while so many are fed cheap grace Kool-aid that requires no more change or heartfelt belief than a country club membership.
And I’m not advocating that anyone intentionally put themselves in harm’s way for foolish reasons. But if we’re serious about following in His footsteps, shouldn’t we expect some trials and suffering and tribulation and shouldn’t we want to do some work? Not even because it is our due, but just because we get the opportunity to participate!
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT
These men might have been toiling night and day, but I guarantee you that it wasn’t a burden. I guarantee you that it wasn’t an obligation. Because they weren’t operating under their own power, they were operating in His strength.
May you find His Spirit, a spirit of love, of self control, and of power – that will have you walking, running, and soaring for the Lord.
These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.
Luke 10:2 NLT
You are the answer to my prayer. Get to work.