Continuing on in our study of Thessalonians 5, this week we are looking at Paul’s 3rd, 4th and 5th guideline/commandment (out of 22) for all Christians.
We ask you, brothers, to (3) respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and (4) to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (5) Be at peace among yourselves 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13
The Senior Pastor at our church has been on sabbatical to prepare for the year and take a break to reconnect and recharge with God. It’s a time much-needed rest for him and gives other campus pastors time to preach. They each have amazing skills, gifts and passions. I never leave before telling them how much a message or worship time moved me. Whether you are in ministry, a mom, wife, leader or mentor, we all need to feel respected, loved and esteemed. It isn’t about pride, but encouragement and love. We should ask ourselves, “How can I not encourage and love those who bring me closer to Christ?”
When Paul was writing to the Thessalonians, he was writing to a group of people who all became believers at the same time and with great passion. It was the first church. I can imagine that when their different gifts began to surface (some teaching, some prophesying, etc.) it would have been easy to begin to have feelings of jealousy or insecurity. I can hear it now, “Tom was just a goat herder like me and now he is teaching everyone about the Lord. I became a believer the same time he did. Why am I not having the same impact? Who does he think he is?” Honestly, I can relate. Can anyone else? I can easily fall prey to those same feelings of insecurity and jealousy myself sometimes. I wonder: is anyone listening, are these messages bringing others close to Christ, who am I do have this role after all I’ve done?
Paul knew these new believers would need to be reminded to respect those who labor to teach and lead their hearts to Christ. It can be challenging to rise above personal issues, but we are called to “esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” I love how Paul says to esteem them not just highly, but “very highly”. Can you imagine the peace this would bring to those we know and who serve us? This week, let’s consider how we can respect and love on those who encourage us and teach us through the word of God. I have a list of people who have helped me grow in Christ. How about you?
Therefore (1) encourage one another and (2) build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to (3) respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and (4) to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (5) Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, (6) admonish the idle, (7) encourage the fainthearted, (8) help the weak, (9) be patient with them all. (10) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but (11) always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (12) Rejoice always, (13) pray without ceasing, (14) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (15) Do not quench the Spirit. (16) Do not despise prophecies, (17) but test everything; (18) hold fast what is good. (19) Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, (20) pray for us. (21) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to (22) have this letter read to all the brothers. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25