1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Pastoring a flock is a lot like parenting a family. As a father, there were many times when our five kids were little that my wife and I would call a “family meeting”. Sometimes, the agenda was to make the kids aware of some things that weren’t going well, and we would lovingly encourage them to make progress on these things.
Like all kids, the responses varied. The compliant kids would immediately respond with obedience and make the changes we were asking. The rebellious kids would not respond with obedience and stayed their course. The easily distracted kids would make the requested changes for a while but then forget and fall back into their old habits.
After our first family meeting, we would wait a while to see if all the kids made the requested changes. If they did not, we would then call a second family meeting to review what we had asked in the first family meeting, oftentimes repeating our instructions in hopes that all the kids would comply.
The Thessalonian church was, like every healthy local church, a family. Paul and the other leaders mentioned (e.g., Timothy and Silvanus) are like the fathers. Paul actually uses this very language when he says, “like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
When they wrote the letters of 1-2 Thessalonians, the church would have gathered for a family meeting to hear the letter read aloud to everyone in the church family. Apparently, the first family meeting at which 1 Thessalonians was read did not result with all the children of God obeying what they were taught, and so there was a second family meeting called at which 2 Thessalonians was read to repeat many of the themes from the first letter and encourage everyone to believe and behave as God was asking. We will study this letter by Paul from an ancient “family” meeting together over the next few weeks.
Have you ever had a family meeting like this? Can you imagine gathering together as a church to get a letter from your senior pastor who is away?
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