I’m reading 1 Thessalonians for my month of reading (I’ll post about that another time), and I’ve been fascinated with reading this: “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:3 NIV). I think it would make a great epitaph. His/Her:
- faith produced work
- love prompted labor
- hope inspired endurance.
For whoever does my funeral, I hope I merit those three descriptions for my life.
At first I was intrigued by:
- what’s the difference between “work” and “labor”? (for another post)
- the words: produced, prompted, inspired. They are so pregnant with meaning. Rather than just a boring verb like “make,” we have powerful verbs.
Work produced by faith: I think this “work” is trust in God, basically. Faith creates the ability to see God’s true nature of love, caring, grace, holiness, and many other qualities, working out our lives for His glory and our good.
Labor prompted by love: love prompts us to make loving choices for the good of others–which can be laborious at times! Farther on in 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people” (5:15 NASB). What can make it laborious is seeking the Lord for what is truly “good” for someone else. The world says that whatever makes a person happy is their “good.” But that’s not God’s definition. He knows what is truly good. That is what we should be prompted to labor to share with others.
Endurance inspired by hope: In the midst of our different and difficult circumstances, we, as Christians, can endure because we have the hope–we are inspired by the hope that this ole earth and it’s problems aint’s all there is! We’re going to a much better, perfect place. We’ll receive rewards for obedience and that inspires us to endure and persevere. And we’ll see our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” If we can get the big picture, we have the secure hope that something better is coming–and it’s worth being persistent to reach.
Faith producing work, love prompting labor, and hope inspiring endurance. What great 3 part harmony!