Memories, what powerful things they are. I drove past an old church yesterday and a memory from an event at least a decade past surfaced about an evening concert I attended there with Bev. Details about our time together that day, about the music, the décor of the sanctuary all came flooding back. I am fascinated by the way the brain stores those experiences and allows recall when a sight, sound, or smell triggers them. While visiting an old friend yesterday, a man in his late 90’s, we took a trip back in times to his Army service during the Second World War! He was in the “D+7” wave of Americans to enter Europe. When the war in Europe ended, he was sent to the Philippines. It is all written into his mind, ready for recall.
What kind of memories are you creating? Specifically, in terms of your faith, what are you writing into the hearts and minds of others?
Paul, according to Acts 17, visited the city of Thessalonica with Silas, and preached for 3 Sabbaths in the local synagogue, before agitators stirred up a mob, leading to his arrest and expulsion from the city. Several converts remained and a church was born. Paul stayed in touch and later encouraged the believers. In the opening of his letter to them he writes, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV) Of interest to me is Paul’s recall, not of great church suppers or wonderful worship music or even stirring sermons.
He remembers their WORK. Their faith was not anchored to emotions, nor was it reserved for special days. Their faith worked. Does yours? Real faith, according to James, has a demonstrable quality. It isn’t just an inner conviction about some truth. Genuine faith moves us to serve, to care, to spiritual disciplines. There are memorable things accomplished by those of faith.
He remembers their LABOR. How is this different from ‘work?’ This is sustained effort, even when situations are difficult. And what does Paul point to as the motivating factor for their ongoing efforts to serve God in a city that made being a disciple a costly and difficult choice? Love! Their lives were deeply changed by the love of God that they reciprocated in their labor.
He remembers their ENDURANCE. Paul uses a word in the first language of the Bible that means to ‘stand up under the weight.’ Their steadfastness was memorable. They did not quit when thing were not going as they thought they should. They did not walk off when their family and friends criticized their new-found relationship with Christ. They endured. Why? Because they grasped the eternal promise, the hope of life in the presence of God that was assured them through Christ Jesus.
Paul says “As we talk to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and your continual anticipation of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3, NLT) That inspires me. How about you?
Let’s create some great memories as we work in faith, labor in love, and endure in hope. So many around us are waiting for life, the eternal life available through Christ Jesus. Will our words and actions point them to Him today?
Here is a word from the Word. They are Paul’s reflection on his life as he is days from dying. Lord, use these thoughts to keep us on course with You. Amen.
“As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8, NLT)
Be memorable today, for all the right reasons.
(An amazingly inspiring song of worship)
We’ve come to join the song
Sung long before our lives
To raise our voice along
Heaven and earth alike
We’ve seen Your faithful hand
Your mercy without end
The King who bled and died
A God who sacrificed
Be enthroned upon the praises
Of a thousand generations
You are worthy Lord of all
And unto You the slain and risen King
We lift our voice with heaven
Singing worthy Lord of all (Lord of all)
All through this life we lead
And on to eternity
Our endless praise we cry
Jesus be glorified (Jesus be glorified)
Brian Johnson | Hunter Thompson | Jeremy Riddle | Kalley Heiligenthal
© 2015 Bethel Music Publishing
CCLI License # 810055