For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed-God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 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. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
– 1 Thessalonians 2:5-12
This passage is a review of Paul’s own understanding of how his evangelism took place in Thessalonica. There is a mass of helpful insight here. He says he did not come with words of flattery. He did not seek glory from people. He was affectionately desirous of them. He shared not only the gospel with them but himself also. They became very dear to him. He worked very hard in order not to be a burden to them. His conduct toward them was blameless. He exhorted, encouraged and charged them through the gospel.
Another thing to notice is that he didn’t do any of this alone. He was among a team of followers sharing the gospel in words, displaying the gospel through conduct, and living the gospel through love.
I can’t be a minister of the gospel to those I don’t love, and I can’t love those with whom I don’t talk about the gospel.
I’m showing a broken picture of the gospel if I share it without love, or without blameless conduct, or while seeking my own advancement. My actions, intentions, affections, and words all work together to share the gospel.
I should not seek opportunities to do this alone, as a huge part of sharing the gospel is sharing how believers in the gospel interact and love one another.
Lord, I need your help sharing the gospel in every way. I can’t always stir my own affections for people the way they should be. I can’t always get the words out. I can’t always get past seeing an opportunity for my own career or reputation. I can’t always conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel.
You have carried all these failings of mine to the cross. I only have to trust you that when I repent of these wrongs, to you and to others, that you’ve paid for my right to continue in ministry. It’s not because I’m worthy of the gospel, but because I’m not that makes me a candidate to bear your name to the world.
Thank you for displaying all of these facets of the gospel perfectly in your human form, and sending your Spirit to complete them in myself.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.