I am reminded in Paul’s opening words to the Thessalonians how rare it is to hear someone gush words of praise about others. The Thessalonians are special to Paul and are held up as faithful servants, imitators of Jesus, and highly respected by everyone around them. It is a beautiful tribute.
Often, I am guilty of not telling others how much I value them, or how much of a difference they have made in my life. I think, and hope, that they know, but I realize that I don’t do it enough. Perhaps I take the part about having “no need to speak about it” too literally.
Paul finds it appropriate to begin his letter with praise, thanking God for the witness of these people. He also ends his letter by heaping blessings on them that God might continue to be at work in them. I cannot help but wonder how following a pattern like this might transform our relationships and deepen our gratitude towards others and God?
Gracious God, our gratitude for our neighbour is born out of the love that you have first shown us in your son Jesus. Let praise and thankfulness always be on our lips. Amen. — KT