Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paul's Final Instructions = Our First Instructions

It is the purpose of these following brief devotionals to complement and reinforce our pre-field team training using the book, Compassion by Nouwen, McNeill and Morrison.

I Thessalonians 5: 12-18

12Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

“In the community gathered in Christ’s name, there is an unlimited space into which strangers from different places with very different stories can enter and experience God’s compassionate presence. It is a great mystery that compassion often becomes real for people not simply because of the deeds of one hospitable individual, but because of an intangible atmosphere resulting from a common life. [. . .] It is precisely by constant prayer and meditation that the community remains alert and open to the needs of the world.” (Compassion, p. 58)

Ponder: Here Paul lays out basic final instructions for the church of Thessalonica. He is leaving no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding of what God’s will is: respect those you work with, live at peace with everyone, pray without stopping and always give thanks. The command is clear. We might consider Paul’s final instructions our first instructions as we embark on this new journey to partner with God on His mission here in Australia.

Seek out every opportunity to learn from the local pastors and ministry leaders, find ways to bless your host family and practice the presence of Christ in your life through continual prayer.

Pray: Ask the Lord to reveal any areas of unconfessed sin that might be hinder you from effective ministry and learning. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness.

No comments: