During the Revolutionary War, a spy appeared at the headquarters of Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall, carrying an urgent message. General George Washington and his army had secretly crossed the Delaware River that morning and were advancing on Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessians were encamped. The spy was denied an audience with the commander, so he wrote his message on a piece of paper. A porter took the note to the Hessian colonel, but because Rall was involved in a poker game he stuffed the unread note into his pocket. When the Hessian guards began firing their muskets in a futile attempt to stop Washington’s army, Rall was still playing cards. Without time to organize, the Hessian army was captured.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
If you could choose the people in your church or your small group, would you choose people who always disappoint you and fail to do what they’re supposed to do? Would you surround yourself with folks who always give you multiple reasons why your ideas won’t work? Would you purposefully spend time with those who consistently come up short of obeying God’s will? I’m fairly sure you answered “no” to these questions. We like spending time with the best people.
Paul had commended the church at Thessalonica for their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:3). But in todays text, we learn there were some who were “idle” (lazy), “fainthearted” (timid), and “weak.” But, instead of ignoring these people, Paul urged the believers to get involved in the lives of these less-than-ideal folks.
Linus in a Peanuts cartoon strip once said, “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand!”
We need to “be patient” with imperfect people. After all, God is patient with our imperfections.
Let us concentrate on loving people well. Happy Sabbath!