Tuesdays is a really busy day for us. Apart from the normal school run in the mornings, housework, shopping there is also mum’s Bible study in the morning, some baking for youth group in the afternoon and the group meeting at our house. Playing with the kids and cooking meals are also included in the routine. It is busy, but it is also one of my favorite days of the week. I get to spend time with some amazing women being encouraged to walk closer to God and to live for Him.
This morning was no different. The study was based on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12:
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed – God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, 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.
We started off making a list of things we do during our waking hours. We then moved on to talk about Paul’s, Silas’ and Timothy’s attitude towards the Thessalonians and we realized that they cared deeply for them. They weren’t putting on a mask to attract them and trick them (v3, 5) nor were they trying to please people (v4). They loved them as a mother loves their children and dealt with them like a father deals with their children (v7, 11).
The main point of the study was talking about v8 “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well”. We discussed the fact that they go hand in hand and if we shared the Gospel and did not share our lives, it would not be genuine or attractive to other people. If we shared our lives but did not share the Gospel then our lives would have no purpose and we would not be obeying God’s commands. So sharing the Gospel and sharing our lives are linked and are essential.
Reading v7 to 12 we had to answer what kind of meeting and/or event, Paul and his friends strategically used to attract people and share the Gospel with them. They didn’t use any meetings really. we get so worried about organizing church meetings and events to attract people and here we see the great apostle Paul living his life normally. That is not to say that church meetings and events are not important, they are and have a purpose and place. The verses list things that were normal day-to-day. It was most encouraging to see that we do not have to add 20 more hours to our days to organise big gatherings so we can share our lives with people who need to know about Jesus. It is all about using my whole day, all the normal activities we do to share both Gospel and lives with others.
The apostle Paul and his fellow Christian workers were living their lives normally, but the difference was that the Gospel was in the centre of everything they did.
What a challenge that is! To keep all the things listed on our piece of paper happening but have the Gospel as our focus!
May our Lord help us share the Gospel and our lives with others for His honour and glory!