In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain. 1 Thessalonians 3:4-5 (NIV).
Several verses are mentioned below to help explain these for today. Perhaps, however, they are best explained in Mark 4, which is the parable of the sower. If you’ll remember, Jesus is teaching a crowd so large that it forces him to stand in a boat to speak to them. He tells them a story of what the kingdom of God is like. It’s like when a farmer sows seed and we are the soil. In some of us, the plant grows shallow and it withers, or it is destroyed, or it is neglected to be choked out by weeds, which are troubles in life. But in some of us the seed finds good soil and the seed takes root to eventually produce a good crop.
Paul was concerned that he had planted God’s word – good seed – in soil where the troubles of this world had choked out a good crop. He was afraid that Satan had come to distract the Thessalonians and pull them off the straight and narrow path that Paul had set them on.
You know that happens to all of us, right? Billy Graham was one of the modern heroes of the faith, but the tempter tempted him all through his long life and tried to pull him off God’s path. Mother Theresa was a modern hero of the faith, but the tempter tempted her all through her long life and tried to pull her off God’s path. You get the picture. If it can happen to great heroes of the faith, people with strong public faith who gather millions to follow God, it can happen to little old you and me.
When this life is over, even heroes stand before Jesus individually just like anyone else. Paul was concerned for his friends that they would have been led into sin, that the seed he had planted that had grown in good soil had withered. How wonderful it would be to have a friend like Paul, who thought about us this way. How good it is, then, to have friends who are more than just worldly friends but who also are concerned about our spiritual well-being, about how we’re walking our walk with Jesus. Do you have someone like that in your life? Do you have a Paul?
For further reading: Mark 4:17, John 16:33, Romans 5:3, 2 Corinthians 1:4, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 1 Thessalonians 3:6.
Lord, I praise You for the people you put in my life to support me in faith. Bless and encourage them, and let me be that someone for somebody else, too.