Life is all about fellowship and relationship-our relationship and fellowship with God and with people. Fellowship and relationship are all about attitude. Our attitude and behavior toward one another are vitally important.In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12, Paul tells us that we should treat each other like a mother treats her children. He says that he was gentle and we should be gentle with each other. Some Christians seem to think that they get a “pass” on gentleness. They say that they just see things either as right or wrong. Or, they say, “I don’t have the gift of mercy.” Paul and Jesus could have excused themselves from having a caring attitude. Each had the personal righteousness and credentials to be consumed with their tasks and missions. Yet, we see these two altering their schedules and putting aside their immediate wishes to spend time with and resources on others. Jesus never wavered on the holiness issue. Paul never was slack in his personal responsibilities. But these two, leading by example, showed gentleness in relating to and fellowshipping with others. The way that people who are outside of Christianity will be able to spot a Christian is by the love we have for one another (John 13:35). Not by our declarations or buildings, but by our love for one another. Romans 15:7 says that one way that love is demonstrated is by us accepting one another just as Christ accepted us. He accepted us while we were not yet the “finished product”.
What kind of a brother or sister are you? How do you view others around you? Paul saw himself as a person who was called to help those that he was in community with. He was not looking for people to be resources for him. He wanted to use his resources for others. I hope that you have family and friends like Paul around you. I hope that you will be a “Paul” to others. He was generous and friendly. He used his position to serve the people in Thessalonica. Though he was free to focus on himself, he used his freedom in Christ to serve others (Galatians 5:13).
Josh McDowell said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Paul understood this 2000 years ago. In verses 10-12, Paul gives us the sequence to relating to people as a father: encourage, comfort and then instruct (urge). This process will work in any venue. Whether at home, church, school or work, people want to “…know how much you care before they care how much you know.” At times, a father has to be firm. Firmness will most likely have a positive impact if the firmness is preceded with encouragement and a loving relationship. We must function in the father role. Those in our lives need instruction, correction and redirection. Our hearts need to be right before we speak into the lives of other people. They will know that we are trying to help them if the relationship and fellowship are in place before the instructing begins.
This word from God’s Word gives us insight to Paul’s heart and instructs us on living with others. Mother, brother or father-you will serve in each of these roles at one time or another. It is the attitude that counts. Serve with the Heart of Paul-the heart of Jesus.
Roy Meadows is the senior pastor of Westland Baptist Church which meets north of the Intersection of Grand Parkway and Highland Knolls/Bay Hill Boulevard at 1407 W. Grand Parkway South Katy, TX 77494. 281-392-5099. For more information about the exciting ministries available for you and your family check Westland’s website at: www.westland.cc