Summary: Looking at Paul's role as a spiritual parent of the Thessalonians
The senior pastor of a church was doing the children’s sermon one day at the service. He had decided to talk to the kids about how to write a good sermon, in hopes of inspiring some to grow up and go into the ministry. So he asked the children, "What makes a good sermon?"
Of course all the little kids raised their hands high and proud. "Yes Johnny?" Johnny said, "Well, it has to have a good beginning." "That’s right, Johnny," replied the preacher. "We call that the introduction. What else, kids? Yes, Sue?" the preacher said. "Well, it has to have a great ending," said Sue. "You are so right the preacher responded, we call that the conclusion, and it is one of the most important parts. Anyone else?"
Little Billy had his hand up, so the preacher called on him. "Yes Billy?" "Well, I know you don’t do it this way, but the introduction and the conclusion should be as close together as possible!"
Well as a fairly new dad I have realized that Children grow not only in size, but in motor skills, mentally and humour and in so many other ways! If we all gained as much knowledge, as adult, as children do in their first 5 year we would be overwhelmed I think.
Parents have a role to guide them in this learning. I was trying to teach Josh how to sit these last couple weeks, but he is not sure sitting is for him. He does fine for a bit then flings himself flat on his back. I have to catch him…
Before a child can walk, he must learn to stand. Usually the father and mother teach the child to stand by holding on to a foot rest or a couch and then try to get them to take one step then another, then another. Eventually they may get the child to walk back and forth between two adults. And then there is the solo run and then… they never stop running…
Children are born with instinct, but the parent’s guidance is always needed so that they learn faster and safer. Well Paul was the “spiritual parent” to the believers in Thessalonica, but he had been forced to leave Thessalonica. How, then, could he help these young Christians learn to stand in the trials of life? Well let’s read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 to get a glimpse of this: (Let me read from the Message)
1-2 So when we couldn’t stand being separated from you any longer and could find no way to visit you ourselves, we stayed in Athens and sent Timothy to get you up and about, cheering you on so you wouldn’t be discouraged by these hard times. He’s a brother and companion in the faith, God’s man in spreading the Message, preaching Christ.
3-5 Not that the troubles should come as any surprise to you. You’ve always known that we’re in for this kind of thing. It’s part of our calling. When we were with you, we made it quite clear that there was trouble ahead. And now that it’s happened, you know what it’s like. That’s why I couldn’t quit worrying; I had to know for myself how you were doing in the faith. I didn’t want the Tempter getting to you and tearing down everything we had built up together.