We always thank God for all of you, making mention of you constantly in our prayers.
We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith,
your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (CSB)
All of 1 Thessalonians 1 is absolutely beautiful. I read it and get all teary-eyed. Paul writes to this group of believers in the church of Thessalonica. He, Silvanus, and Timothy were welcomed into this group with open arms of gratitude and joy. This group was teachable and humble toward the gospel and receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul acknowledges the fruit of their lives and honors them. The definition of honor is to show respect and recognition. It is to give credit. That is what Paul did with each word in this chapter. He makes mention of everything they were doing that blessed him and revealed their love for God. Their work was produced by faith, their labor was motivated by love, and their endurance was inspired by hope in Christ. These believers welcomed the truth of the gospel and endured in spite of persecution.
For me, I have at times wanted leadership in my life to simply see me and encourage me. But God has always seen me; I am always known by Him. And part of His plan for community is for us to give honor where honor is due. Our words have more power than we know. We speak life or death. Our words have the potential to bring hope and healing to weary souls. Giving honor to those around us ultimately honors God.
Further down in the chapter, Paul acknowledges the Thessalonians’ growth and progress in their faith and the impact they’re making on others. Though they once worshiped idols, they were now imitators of God and an example to other believers. Others had seen and been blessed by their progress, but they needed to see it for themselves as well.
One of my friends describes this as calling out the gold in someone’s life. It’s a lovely picture of drawing out purpose and potential instead of staying stuck in the past.
Paul, as someone of influence and authority in this church’s life, spoke of them and to them with such grace and love and encouragement. It made me begin to think about the spheres in my life where God has given me influence and authority. How do I use my words in those spaces? How do you?
One way we can use our words for life is to cover others in prayer.
Prayer is a game changer. It is what ushers in the Holy Spirit to infuse our words with His power. I love that Paul led his letter with the fact that he thanked God for the Thessalonians and prayed for them constantly. I can encourage others all day and that is good and important, but praying over them is how the Holy Spirit changes their hearts and lives. There is actually a double blessing attached. Prayer changes us too. It changes how we think, feel, speak, and live.
Let’s be women who give honor where honor is due.
Let’s be women who call out the gold in others’ lives.
Let’s be women who faithfully cover others in prayer.
Edited from a post originally written by Karina Allen in October 2017.
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