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Nurturing one another

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 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. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 NIV

Paul’s admonition from the text is that in view of Christ’s return, Christians should encourage and serve one another. He urges them to recognize those who lead them to a life of service. The task that each one does working hard ministering to others should be “labor prompted by love” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). If the body of believers will become a force it needs to be to make a positive impact to its community, there should be a united effort at work. Paul wrote several admonitions about the mutual ministry of the body of Christ (See Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4; Colossians 2.). And here from the text, he focuses on reminding each one to “warn those who are idle” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). It appears that some are not prepared for Jesus’ return; they have stopped working and are presuming upon the charity of others in the church. He stressed out the importance of “encouraging the timid” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). They need to be encouraged. Then, he urges them to “help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Those who are spiritually immature need room to grow just as do the physically immature. The bottom line is that each one should “be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Since God is at work in the life of believers, being patient is possible. Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and is a characteristic of God himself. Another word used in other translations for patience is “longsuffering.” Such attitude is manifested when we “make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong …” (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Jesus taught this principle admonishing His disciples when He said, “’Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?’...Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’’ (Matthew 18:21-22).


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