For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 1 Thessalonians 2:1
Though Paul only had a few short weeks teaching the Thessalonians before being run out of the city, his impact was anything but short-lived. Paul shares a beautiful example of the foundation for true, lasting, and impactful ministry. Because the truth is, as believers, we all have a ministry….to our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. We are all called to share the Gospel and make disciples.
What we don’t do is often as important as what we do. Paul starts with the “did nots” – the things he DID NOT do.
They did not… Come with erroneous words, impurity or an attempt to deceive. They did not seek to please man or try to win them over with words of flattery. They did not come with a pretext of greed, making it all about them. They did not seek glory from people.
And the “did nots” are crucial because they are the things that all too often hinder us. The things that blemish our testimony. The things that create conflict, skepticism, and cynicism. The things that ultimately tear down, rather than build up, the body of Christ. They are the seeds the devil sows to throw us all off track.
Instead, Paul came with… Boldness IN God. Seeking to please God. Gentleness. Desirous of them to know God. Sharing not only the Gospel, but themselves. Loving and serving. Toiling and laboring, working night and day to not be a burden. Exhorting them. Encouraging them. Charging them to walk in a manner worthy of God. Reminding them that God calls them into the kingdom of God.
Think of what could be accomplished for the kingdom with this purity in message and delivery. When it is all about God and others, not us. When we love and submit and serve others rather than ourselves. God, let it be so in our lives for always.
Questions: Do you believe you have a ministry where you are? How can you implement Paul’s do/do nots? Which stand out to you?