2 Chronicles 29:1-36
1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13
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1 Thessalonians 2:6b-12
6b As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
Paul uses the imagery of parenthood to describe the nurturing role that he and his missionary companions served in Thessalonica. Like a mother with her children, they loved and delighted in the people they served. They didn't merely teach; they shared their very lives. Like a good father, they encouraged, comforted, and prodded their new converts to live lives that honor God, and to see themselves as Kingdom people with a purpose to fulfill.
This is a good model for spiritual guidance and mentoring. Christian leaders would do well to choose the model of loving and nurturing parents over the entrepreneurial, business, marketing, coach/expert models that seem to be more prevalent today. Nurture is more likely to flow out of relationships than lessons.
Response and Action:
I need to see relationships as the basis for real spiritual nurture and Christian mentoring. I need to look for this kind of leadership and example for my own maturity in Christ. I need to become this kind of leader to serve and bless others.
O God, bring spiritual leaders into my life who nurture and encourage me as good parents love and guide their children. Help me to be an encouraging and loving friend, example, and mentor to anyone who is looking to me for spiritual guidance and support. Help me to love and delight in the people I serve. I pray through Christ, your son, who has demonstrated true servanthood, and calls me to be a servant too. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses:
14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Full Service: Moving from Self-Serve Christianity to Total Servanthood
by Siang-Yang Tan