For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.
I love Paul’s heart for people. He focused his time and energies on helping people keep the faith, raise their children well, live honorably in the world, keep sight of eternity, and overcome tribulations. All this while enjoying VIP status in Rome’s finest penitentiaries. He was often left for dead in the cities he visited as he was literally mobbed by the welcoming committee. Yet when you read his letters, his relentless pursuit was seeing people built up in their most holy faith: he demonstrated how to flesh out all the “one anothers” in Scripture.
Paul goes on to say:
Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see your face again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
Paul is praying for these believers. When is he praying? All the time. How is he praying? Most earnestly. What dominates his prayers for them? The opportunity to see them in person and develop their personal faith in Jesus.
My grandparents, who are now with the Lord, exemplified this in my life. They spent hours each day praying for their loved ones. Growing up, with the Atlantic Ocean between us, they often wrote to us, letting us know how they longed to see us. I came to realize in my adult years that their longing for us was not only the grandparent bug – they wanted to visit with us so they could express their love for us in person and urge us to keep going with the Lord.
Which leads me to my application. In whom are you investing yourself? For whom do you passtionately pray? For whom do you harbor a deep longing, to enjoy their company and to strengthen their faith? Whether our own family or those outside, we ought all to be intent on passing our faith on and investing in what will outlast our recession and the upcoming football season: people’s lives. As you consider serving in various ministries this year, be intentional about your method of service: cast it in prayer and be sure to express your love concern for your people. Do this with the strong tailwind of Christ’s presence and a good mentor behind you.
(See II Thessalonians 3 for the full text I drew from for this post)