Dream word – GROW
1 Thessalonians 2:11
“As you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children.” NKJV
Sinister sinners and shining sons
In recent years, the word “martyr” and the idea of “martyrdom” has taken on a most sinister connotation. Rather than being a word which evokes the life style of undeniable selflessness for the glory of God and sacrifice for the sake of others, even and especially in the face of grossly unjust suffering, it now evokes images of mass murder, wanton carnage, legless torsos, headless corpses, yes, it evokes the gross image of blast damage instead of a blessed message.
Our text for tonight is drawn out of 1st Thessalonians which teaches Christians to wait in patience for the coming of the Lord and to wait with clean noses, quiet personas and productive lives, knowing that suffering is assigned to such a watching and waiting saint.
In this text, it is interesting to note Paul’s metaphor of personal discipleship here, for while building on the metaphor of a nurse towards her charges, he now turns quickly to that of a father towards his children. The childless Paul took his own instruction here most probably from the observation of other fathers as well as his own Heavenly Father, whom he saw exhorting, comforting and charging their children.
As a father to his own dear spiritual children, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians. Literally, he beseeched them and this is nothing short of desperate pleading! When a parent gets to this point in the proceedings, it’s an end game scenario. If pleading doesn’t work, the wind of parental disappointment will blow, shaking the quivering leaves of already bent over trees into frantic frustration. To be sure, a spanking is sure to follow. Yet the apostle Paul here says that part of his discipleship process was to plead! How very humbling for a parent to do this, yet Paul pleaded with them as part of his discipleship process. It worked!
As a father to his own dear children, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians. He consoled them. He literally got alongside them, put his arm around their shuddering shoulders and said, “So you fell off your bike then? There, there, there, it’s alright darling, you’ll do better next time. Now get yourself up, let’s dust you down and then let’s try it again.” Yes, the apostle Paul says here that part of his discipleship process was to exhort! It’s a bit babyish really isn’t it? It’s all a bit namby-pamby! Yet Paul exhorted them in this way as part of his discipleship process. It worked!
As a father to his own dear children, Paul charged the Thessalonians. The root of the Greek word he uses here is from where we get the word “martyr.” Paul witnessed to them in self-sacrificing terms, how, in being a witness to the truth, they must suffer for righteousness sake in this present world. The end of this charge of true martyrdom is very pointed here, and it is this, “walk worthy!” That is, walk appropriately, walk fittingly, walk rightly as a child of God, indeed, walk as a child who is called into the Kingdom of the most Glorious God! It is as though Paul says, “OK enough! Stop your whining! This is who you are, you are Royalty. You must expect and accept both the privileges and the challenges of being a son of the King. Now, blow your nose, stop your blubbering, stand up straight and no matter what happens, honour the king.”Yes, the apostle Paul says here that part of his discipleship process was to charge them in the way of Royal martyrdom! It’s a bit scary, it’s more than a bit demanding, yet Paul charged them to walk worthy in this way. It worked!
You too must make disciples. You shall have those folk who you have helped birth into the Kingdom or have others who being been birthed by someone else, are then put into your charge, your spiritual directorship, your life formation class, your personal discipleship program. Do not think I am talking about clergy here or paid church staff, or an organised church program with books and dollars and loads of frills. No, I am talking about you, the very same person He commanded to go and make disciples. When you are doing this folks, you are engaged in real Kingdom ministry and when you are doing this, though you mightn’t be referred to as “Father” nevertheless you must act like one! Act like a Father, act like a godly mother would toward her dear children whom she is moulding into independent man or womanhood. Yes, in all matters relating to making disciples, if you let “tender love” be your guide, “release” be your watchword and “growth” be your motto, you shall go a long, long way to producing shining sons! This is the true way of martyrdom.
Listen: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” - 1 John 3:16-17 NKJV.
Pray: Lord, may the wise spirit of parental gentleness rest upon all my dealings with the younger members of the Kingdom, no matter how old they are, that the crop produced, may be a sea of shining stars. Amen.
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