1 Thessalonians 3:1-5
1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we decided to be left alone in Athens; 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, 3so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions. Indeed, you yourselves know that this is what we are destined for. 4In fact, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer persecution; so it turned out, as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor had been in vain.
We Christians need each other. The Christian life is too difficult, too strenuous, too exhausting, too dangerous to do it all by ourselves. We need each other to encourage one another. We need each other to strengthen and pray for one another. We need each other to hold one another accountable.
In today's reading from 1 Thessalonians, Paul is worried about the Christians living in Thessalonica. He is concerned that the persecution they were experiencing was causing their faith to grow weak and that they were near giving up. So Paul sends his co-worker Timothy to them, to strengthen them and to encourage them.
Our daughter runs cross-country in high school. Even though it may seem at first like cross-country is an individual sport, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the joys of being a cross-country parent is watching how the team supports each other, how the fans support the team, and how each team supports and encourages the other teams. It is one of the most positive, supportive, encouraging communities we have ever experienced. When one member of the team is struggling, the other members of the team go back and run with that member, helping them cross the finish line. The Christian faith demands of us the same thing. The race of faith is long and hard. We grow weary and are tempted to give up. We need each other to help us keep going. We need each other to help us endure. We need each other to make sure we all make it across the finish line.
Thinking about skipping worship this coming weekend? Don't. Your presence is needed to encourage those around you. Thinking about pulling away from your small group? Don't. Your small group members need you. Thinking you can be a Christian all by yourself, apart from the community of faith? Don't. You need the faith of the community to help you keep going. The Christian faith is a team sport and YOU are a most important member of the team. Don't let the rest of your team down by your absence.
Lord God, at times my faith grows weary and I feel like giving up. Thank you for the community of faith of which I am a part that encourages and strengthens me to keep going. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Pastor Greg Busboom-Lead Pastor