Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Thessalonians 5:12-15


12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

There are two main issues here. FIRST--Those who work hard among you. This seems to be a reference about those who minister to them--those who care and admonish. They are to hold them in high esteem in love, because of their work among the fellowship.

SECOND--Those who aren't working well among you. This second group includes all those who are not doing that well. The trio lists out 4 groupings of people and what to do with each group. In a lot of ways, these 4 groups represent the major types of people within each fellowship.

1. Warn those who are idle and disruptive or exhort the unruly. Some need to be challenged and exhorted to get their act together. The only way to motivate this sort of person is to challenge them to action.

2. Encourage the disheartened. Some need a simple word of encouragement and affirmation. It's so easy to become discouraged, so look for those who have lost their courage and empower them to get back on track.

3. Help the weak. Still others are so weakened that they need someone to come alongside and carry them for awhile. Sometimes people will need to be held and coddled in their faith for a time, until they become strong enough to stand on their own.

4. Be patient with everyone. No matter what condition a person is in, making sure to be patient with everyone, where they are, is very appropriate.

This is a pretty good analysis of the four general problems you will face within every fellowship. No matter the variety of problems you may encounter within a fellowship, be sure to do what is good to each other . Don't allow anyone to get caught up in petty fighting.

This variety of people within a fellowship reminds me of how God molds each of us in our diversity into a unified body that is most attractive to the world. There is an interesting statement in this regard that I love: "Snow is an beautiful illustration of what God can do with a bunch of flakes!"