Paul’s goal was to establish new churches and train people to grow up in the character of Christ. He was on the go, traveling here and there, increasing the awareness of Jesus to all who would hear. But as busy as his days got, he still took the time to further counsel and encourage those at the newly established churches through his letters. Paul was thankful for the faith of the Thessalonians and he recognized that faith, hope and love were a part of their lives. Paul then continued to build up the believers at Thessalonica: “…live lives worthy of God, Who calls you into His own kingdom and the glorious blessedness [into which true believers will enter after Christ’s return].” Paul does not want them, or us, to forget the eternal perspective even when suffering and hard times come.
Ruth, a believer among a people group that is beginning to hearing the gospel, is a wonderful example to me of someone who chooses to live worthy in spite of real hardships. Her persecution as a follower of Jesus Christ has been from the government, from village neighbors and even from her own family. Ruth is an integral part of a team that works diligently to translate the Bible into her language. In her joyful expression of living for God, she has turned many truths of God’s Story into songs. As she faithfully teaches and sings from village to village, God’s Kingdom is made bigger. We were blessed to hear her sing Paul’s Thessalonian letters as she strummed her guitar in her humble home during Christmas of 2007. This sister understands what Paul wrote concerning the return of Jesus. Right now she experiences joy mixed with pain, but she knows there is a blessedness that is yet to come that will be glorious.