We’ve come full circle in our life of influence study. We began by looking at our love for God, and this week we’ll see how that love translates into showing others the unconditional love of God. Our example for this character trait is the apostle Paul and his and love compassion for the church he served in Thessalonica.
When you read through the letters of Paul in the New Testament, you can’t help but notice his commitment to the people he ministered to. The introductions of his letters (written to churches, groups of believers, and individuals) are filled with expressions of joy, thankfulness, and fondness for the people he spent time with (though Galatians has a sterner start than others.
Whether Paul spent years or days in someone’s presence didn’t matter; he invested in them and their spiritual development for the long haul. This commitment is part of what made him so influential in the spread of the gospel and church planting.
We can learn much from Paul’s example. Relationships seem easier and safer when we avoid commitment and maintain a shallow connection. After all, if the other person lets you down or rejects you in some way, you already have one foot out the door. But when we fully invest in others, we acknowledge that at some point the relationship will be difficult and will test us. The commitment says to the other person, “I will stand by you in tough times.” Paul’s commitment to the people he shared the gospel with displayed an unconditional love for them, reflective of God’s love for him.
As we enter into relationships and plant seeds for the gospel, it is our investment and love that will gain people’s trust, not the words we say. People will see Jesus in us when we show concern for them as people.
What is difficult about commitment?
Think of a person who has impacted your life and displayed commitment to you. What were the commitments? What did they mean to you?
Get excited—next month we’ll be studying the Book of Malachi and spiritual revival. If you haven’t ordered your Summer 2012 books yet, you can do so HERE.
About the Author
Laura Magness is an editor for Threads. She is a graduate of Samford University and Dallas Theological Seminary, and lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Nathan, and part-basset hound, part-lab, Hank.