Charge! Thank You!

I Thessalonians 2

9For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 

11For you know how, like a father with his children, 12we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

 

This passage spoke to me as a father.  Really the gift of faith from one to another is like a father and a son. Though the son, in faith, becomes a brother and at times carries the one who shared faith with them.  

See what the ‘father’ does in this passage.  Verse 12 and 13 points to some of those attributes: 

Exhort – I like this word, I use it when I am trying to say something as strongly as I can while being diplomatic.  But when I picture a father to his children it comes out more like the Greek word behind it, calling up a witness.  “With God as my witness!!”  or a possible phrase for a mom “Just you wait till I tell your father…”   In my opinion this is more than encouragement it is somewhere closer to the last word of the three words that begin this verse – “CHARGE!!”   A father points out where to go and commands action. 

Paul the ‘father’ of the Thessalonians points them to their way of life in God.  That what they know to be right, because of his example and the teaching of God’s Word, would be their actions and teachings.  A Christian’s life in the world should be anything but passive.  It is a life of action, risk, and danger.  Charge!  It is because our way of life is so contrary to the way the world lives.  Occasionally that means fighting for what is right by speaking the truth of God’s Word into our conversations, our votes, our actions and sometimes it means taking the hand of someone who is sinking into the mire of their self-created world lived by their rules, a trap that has left them alone.

Secondly, and though many Bibles will not link them, I see the father-figure in this passage as the one who also ‘thanks God constantly.’  A father who prays is the father who recognizes power and authority.  I always struggle with the children who won’t respect their father’s authority partly because the father refuses to recognize the authority of their heavenly Father over them.  Prayer puts this whole difficult mess of raising children and being a part of the lives of ‘spiritual children’ into the proper perspective – we are all children, giving thanks where thanks is due – to God.  Paul saw good and thanked God for it even after all of his back-breaking hard work, he had the perspective to know that even when we are giving our all, God has given His life in Jesus Christ in a work that killed Him so that our labor in Him could have eternal results.

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