1 Thess 2: 4-9
All of us love to hear what we want to hear about ourselves. We love those who speak well of us and we hate those who are critical of us.
Historically, flattering words have always gathered an audience. False prophets thrived on them during the Old Testament, the New Testament and even today. Advocates of false religion frequently use flattery to gain an audience so that they can convince them to give them their money.
The Apostle Paul was sometimes accused of being a false teacher and a preacher for gain (2 Cor. 8:20-21). Such accusations were passed to the church at Thessalonica which compelled Paul to defend himself. He was not a false prophet, attempting to win people over with flattery words. His conduct among them was “not as pleasing men but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness” (1 Thess. 2:4-5). He spoke only the truth, even when the truth did not win him any friends.
Paul and his companions dearly loved the church. They were ready to impart not only the truth of God, but also their own lives for them. They were gentle with them as a nursing mother is with her own children (vv. 7-8), and this association with them created a loving tender bond.
Paul and his companions’ love for the Thessalonians serves as a model for all of us, especially those who minister. We should have more regard for the welfare of the church than our own lives. We should never be urged to perform a duty for any personal gain, but we should be driven by a sincere love to serve those who are united by the blood of Christ. May the Lord increase our courage to stand firm for the truth and serve…serve…serve!