So, being affectionately desirous of you,
we were ready to share with you not only
the gospel of God but also our own selves,
because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thess. 2:8
One of the things that I am becoming more and more convinced of is that if the world is to be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ those who say it must also show it. What I mean by that is I feel in some ways we have skipped a step when it comes to evangelism. We have all kinds of valuable training on how to say the right words and ask the right questions of those who we might engage in conversation, but what of ourselves are we giving to those we are trying to reach?
Paul is writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the church in Thessalonica where he and Silas had spent a month before they were driven out by persecution. In chapter 2, Paul is reflecting on their time together and reminding them of the way that the Gospel was presented by them. They didn’t come to Thessalonica with their own agenda or to try to lure them with enticing words or to gain personally from them. If anyone could have demanded respect from the Thessalonians, it would have been Paul and Silas, apostles of Christ.
In verse 8, we see the apostle’s true motivation. They were drawn to this dangerous place to share the message of the Gospel because of the love of God that He had given them for these people. Paul and Silas did share the Gospel with the Thessalonians, but they also gave themselves to them. The rest of the chapter goes on to show how they worked hard while they were proclaiming the Gospel so that they wouldn’t be a drain on them, they lived holy and righteous lives in front of them, they encouraged, exhorted, and charged them on how to live out their new found faith.
My question for myself and other believers in Jesus is simple. Are we willing to live the Gospel so that we will in time have the opportunity to speak the Gospel? Will it be said of us that we loved well and exemplified a life that has been radically transformed by Jesus? Will we walk with those God has placed in our lives past their conversion experience and help them learn how to glorify God, follow Jesus, and make more disciples?
Do we really believe this is our calling and our great privilege? If not, we need to pray and ask for forgiveness and begin again to love well and live well by the grace of God so that we can then effectively share the words of life that set people free.