“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive… your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
“We give thanks.., remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but in power and the Holy Spirit and with full conviction… You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you.., but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere.”
“We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel in the midst of much conflict… not to please man, but to please God… We were ready to share with you not only the gospel but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. Remember our labor and toil: we worked night and day… while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God… When you received the word,.. 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. ” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5a,6-8; 2:2,4,8-9,13b
Once Paul was gripped by the Lord, his goal was to make His life-changing gospel known. His spoken word and clear witness of faithful, loving, industrious effort resulted in wide-sweeping transformation around the Mediterranean. The gospel works its way into and through those who receive its truth and power. (Acts 9:3-16)
How readily do I speak about Jesus, and give witness to His example of engaged listening, selfless love, and patience? How zealously do I pursue those ripe for hope and significance? How willing am I to work hard so as not to be a burden, and to speak boldly of the Savior who gives purpose and eternal security?
Reluctant or timid? Pray! Ask for holy boldness in open doors to speak with clarity, and in every opportunity to serve with perseverance and model consistent faith in hardship. Ask that the gospel have full spiritual effect in souls, and communities. (Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 3:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-13)
What examples of faith in action have inspired stronger faith and compelled bolder action in me? The men who challenge each other to share the gospel with one person a week? The woman who lost her home and has offered its salvageable contents, saying, “It was built to share, why not share in its final days?” The friend coming to grips with a sobering diagnosis, thanking God for every day of opportunity?
How might we exercise more creative service, more compassionate ministry, more courageous proclamation of the gospel? We never know who is observing our obedience, generosity, and love. But we can know, if we work as unto the Lord, He will work in glorious ways to accomplish His redemptive purposes.
Lord, engage all my faculties to proclaim and exemplify Your gospel. Have Your way with me, Your word, and the witness of Your children, to fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by Your power and for Your glory. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)