By Eric Landrum (Lead Pastor at the Lititz Church of the Brethren (PA))
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 “…your faith in God has become known everywhere…”
First impressions are a big deal. As Paul begins his letter (and likely one of his earliest letters) he is so grateful for the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica and the impression their faithfulness had made in his own life and ministry. Paul is energized and inspired by this body of believers and the incredible work they are doing. He can clearly see how the work of God is alive and well and being led by the Holy Spirit there. He points out that because of their commitment to live as imitators of Jesus, their work is having a lasting and meaningful impact on those around them. Because they follow Jesus with their whole hearts their faith in God “has become known everywhere.” They are role models for a gospel way of living. What high praise to receive from a guy like Paul!
It is wonderful when we see the fruit of the Spirit, isn’t it? We can make such a stunning first impression on the people around us when we extend kindness, patience, and genuine care to our neighbors by imitating Jesus. Paul points out that the believers in Thessalonica had three important characteristics: faith, hope, and love. Can the same be said for your life? What about your church? Paul will spend the rest of his time in this letter encouraging the followers to keep up the good work and remain a source of positivity and we can hear that encouragement even today. Go forth! Be a role model! Live in such a way that your faith in God is known everywhere! Talk about a fantastic first impression.
Good News: God has chosen you to be a role model for others and an imitator of Jesus!
Discussion Question: Who has served as a role model for you? How did their behaviors and living teach you about God?
Go one step further: Paul’s time in Thessalonica wasn’t always smooth sailing. He was actually locked up when he first arrived! You can read more about his time in this famous Greek city in Acts 16 and 17. If you’d like to know about the entire letter, check out this video which gives you an overview of 1 Thessalonians