Christian Friendship Longing to Share
We often hear people say how much life was changed for them when they committed themselves to following Jesus. The major change we experience is to put Jesus first in our lives rather than our own selfish interests. But then we also learn to put others in second place and our own needs right at the bottom of the pile.
In practice, that means letting go of self-interest and the possessiveness that often characterises human life. In its place we learn to share our lives, our time and possessions with others.
Our readings this week focus on Friendship and this new principle of sharing our lives with others.
vv 3-4. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know.
Paul was no starry-eyed preacher who said ‘Follow Jesus and everything will be fine’. On the contrary, he was totally realistic and warned these new Christians about the possibility of trouble ahead. Paul himself was hounded out of Thessalonica (Acts 17) and was clear about what might lie ahead for these new converts.
But he did more than warn them, he did everything he could to help them forward in faith and confidence in God. V 2 tells us ‘we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-workerin proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. ‘ He stayed in contact with the Church, to strengthen them, to encourage them in faith, and to keep them from being shaken. Paul had the heart of a faithful Pastor who wanted to look after the Church. This was more than just friendship, he wanted to help sustain their faith through difficult days.
Christian friendship is so much more than helping with shopping or chatting over coffee sometimes. It is a deep longing to see friends making progress in the Christian life, and staying strong through hard times.