1 Thessalonians 2:1-20
1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.
2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.
6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,
12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,
15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men,
16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.
17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire.
18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.
19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
20 For you are our glory and joy.
Drawing on a motive found in the presence of the Lord, there is a purity in the approach made to ministering the Gospel. Great care is given to ensuring that nothing is done for selfish reasons, but with great sensitivity to the needs of the receivers over their own natural benefits. Rather than attempting to manipulate for the purpose of propping up their own favor and status, they passionately pursued a pure and honest presentation of new life that included transformation from serving worldly passions to emulating the ways of righteousness. Because of this transparent and honest presentation of what it really means to know Christ, the Thessalonians were able to receive what they shared as being from the heart of God and not just the thoughts of men. This unwavering focus on the development of the people over the betterment of their ministers kept the motives and passions in the right place, enabling the reward of truly transformed lives.
There will be a standing before the presence of the Lord to account for those we’ve been assigned to touch with His heart. There will be no reward for how we’ve cared for ourselves and bolstered our own plans, purposes, and passions. There will, though, be great relief before Him, in the presentation of lives that have been truly shown the reality of knowing Him from hearts that have died to self. Time is of the essence, and only those things that are done for the betterment and care of those that may grow in Him through our chosen efforts will be rewarded with “Well done”.