1 Thessalonians 3:1 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we (Paul and his ministry team members) decided to be left alone in Athens; 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, 3 so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions. Indeed, you yourselves know that this is what we are destined for. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer persecution; so it turned out, as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor had been in vain. 6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love.
Paul had planted this church but had to leave sooner than expected. He was concerned that the gospel was not planted firmly enough in the people of Thessalonica and would falter when persecution came – which it did. So he sent his protege Timothy to see how things were going. Turns out Paul needn’t worry. The persecution was hard, but the church survived – to Paul’s relief.
Paul may have left the church, but the Spirit never did.
Many times in my life I’ve had the privilege of starting something new only to hand it off to someone else. It’s hard to let go of your “baby”, but usually necessary if it is to survive over the long haul. It can be tempting to thing the survival of the thing in question depends on you. But particularly as it relates to things of the church, it’s the Spirit of the living God that keeps things alive – not me. Paul’s words are a good reminder for me today. It’s not about me. Amen.