1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more…
Paul is writing to the believers in Thessalonika who have been mentored in the faith, perhaps by Paul himself. Here Paul acknowledges they don’t really need his instruction any longer as to how to love one another. They were originally taught by Paul, but then were taught by God through the Holy Spirit. V.10 indicates their ministry has even reached beyond their city into the surrounding churches in the region of Macedonia. Two things strike me about this passage.
First, I get great satisfaction when I see people I’ve had the privilege of mentoring in the faith grow beyond the things I’ve taught them. It’s one of the best parts of being a leader. God uses leaders to grow other people and expand the reach of the gospel of Jesus in the world. I can’t help but beam with pride for people, almost like a father to his children.
Second, I’m aware that I have a lot to be desired as a mentor. I have many, many faults and shortcomings as a person, a disciple, a father, a husband, a leader, a pastor. A mentor of mine once taught me that what the Lord needs are not “perfect” examples of Christian discipleship, but “living” examples – people who get it right and get it wrong sometimes. I’ve come to learn the truth of this principle. I’m sure there are times when people I’m mentoring learn from me what NOT to do, just as I have from my own mentors.
Lord you choose to use imperfect people like me to pass along the faith – just as others passed it on to me. Especially in Covid time, I am keenly aware of the many ways I fall short of who you would want me to be, of who I want to be, of who the people I lead need me to go. And yet I’m also aware that you have a history of using very ordinary people to do extraordinary things. This morning I cling to that hope and promise, for myself and for those reading this blog post. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.