Summary: In these verses Paul is telling them to go to the deep end, to leave behind the “waters of shallow Christianity” to keep doing what they are doing, and to do even more. (1 Thessalonians - pt 4)
“Going To The Deep End”
1 Thessalonians Part 4
Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish theologian & philosopher, told this parable, which he called “The Wild Duck of Denmark;
A wild duck was flying northward with his mates across Europe during the springtime. En route, he happened to land in a barnyard in Denmark, where he quickly made friends with the tame ducks that lived there. The wild duck enjoyed the corn and fresh water. He decided to stay for an hour, then for a day, then for a week , and finally, for a month.
At the end of that time, he contemplated flying to join his friends in the vast North land, but he had begun to enjoy the safety of the barnyard, and the tame ducks had made him feel so welcome. So he stayed for the summer.
One autumn day, when his wild mates were flying south, he heard their quacking. It stirred him with delight, and he enthusiastically flapped his wings and rose into the air to join them. Much to his dismay, he found that he could rise no higher than the eaves of the barn. As he waddled back to the safety of the barnyard, he muttered to himself, “I’m satisfied here, I have plenty of food, and the area is good. Why should I leave.?” So, he spent the winter on the farm.
In the spring, when the wild ducks flew overhead again, he felt a strange stirring within his breast, but he did not even try to fly up to meet them. When they returned in the fall, they again invited him to rejoin them, but this time, the duck did not even notice them. There was no stirring within his breast. He simply kept on eating corn which made him fat.
Today is the fourth week in our study of the book of 1 Thessalonians. As we have seen from our previous studies, the Christians in Thessalonica were a great bunch of believers. They had work, faith, love, endurance and hope. They were imitators of Paul and of Jesus. They had turned from idols (all God substitutes) to serve the living and true God, and they were waiting for Jesus Christ to return to take them home...
Listen to some of the things Paul said about and to them;
“You became imitators of us and of the Lord in spite of severe suffering...And so you became a model to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become know everywhere....” 1:6-8
“Indeed, you are our glory and joy...” 2:20
“For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of God because of you?” 3:8,9
Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these Thessalonians Christians, were doing pretty good, they seem to really have this Christianity thing together... I think it is safe to say that when it came to living the Christian life these guys rocked!!
Paul concludes the 3rd chapter of this letter with an awesome prayer;
“Now may our God & Father, himself and our Lord Jesus Christ clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make you love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when the Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones...”
After that prayer Paul goes on to say the following to the Thessalonian Christians;
1 Thess 4:1-10
Question; What is it, that Paul is saying to them in those verses? For starters he is telling them that they are doing a good job; that they are living to please God, that they are loving all the brothers throughout Macedonia... BUT he is also informing them, that it is not enough! He is telling them that they need to please God more, and they need to love people more.
You see, Paul wants them to know, and he wants us to know, that the job is never done, that their growing is never to stop, that there is always more to do, that they will never arrive.
Today’s message is entitled, “Going To The Deep End...” And that is what Paul is telling the Thessalonians to do - to go to the deep end, to leave behind the “waters of shallow Christianity” >> to keep doing what they are doing, and to do even more....
Why, do they need to do more? Why, isn’t what they were doing enough? Why, should we want to swim to the deep end? Why, shouldn’t we settle for a life of eating corn in the barnyard? Those are the questions we want to answer today.