Paul Was Always Gentle

After a distinguished performing career, virtuoso violinist Jascha Heifetz accepted an appointment as professor of music at UCLA. Asked what had prompted his change of career, Heifetz replied: “Violin playing is a perishable art. It must be passed on as a personal skill; oth … More

Discipleship

Gentleness is often overlooked as a personal trait in our society (v. 7). To demonstrate power and assertiveness seems to get more respect but no one likes to be bullied. It is true that Paul was a man of authority but he always used this authority in love. We find him in this passage as a nursing mother who cares for her children. There is no more beautiful picture of unconditional love than that of a mother caring for her newborn and giving herself totally to this child. This is a picture of how Paul treated the newborn Christians in Thessalonica.

Paul did not turn his converts over to baby-sitters but instead he made sacrifices and cared for them himself. He did not tell them to “read a book” as a substitute for his own personal ministry. You cannot be a nursing mother and turn your baby over to someone else to be cared for. That baby must be in your arms for you to feed it.

We can compare a nursing mother to a loving Christian as follows: The nursing mother eats the food and transforms it into milk for her child. A mature Christian feeds on the Word of God and then shares its nourishment with the younger believer so they can grow (I Peter 2:1-3).

Utmost willingness characterized the ministry in Thessalonica. This was motivated by Paul’s deep yearning to see the people saved. The word “affectionately desirous” is a rare expression and probably means a mother’s yearning over her child (v. 8). Such strong motivation brought continuous willingness to give everything for their converts. It was the unreserved abandonment which was the secret of Paul’s effectiveness.

Application

Am I doing all that I can to disciple new Christians and help them grow in the Lord?

I Thessalonians 2:7- 8 (English Standard Version)


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