In our message, THE LABOR OF LOVE (1 Thes. 2:7-12), Paul continued to recount his visit to them, which was “not in vain.”

Paul and his team were “gentle among [them]” as they shared the gospel with the new church at Thessalonica. This “gentleness” came from God inside of them, “Christ the hope of glory,” as they abided in Jesus (Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 1:27; John 15:4-5, etc.), and it was the same kind of gentleness that “a nursing mother [would cherish] her own” baby with (1 Thes. 2:7; James 1:17, etc.). It was a supernatural “LABOR OF LOVE” lived out in their lives propelled forward by “affectionate… longing” or compassion… So limitless was this compassion that Paul and his team “were well pleased” to even die, if necessary, for the new believers there! (1 Thes. 1:3; 2:8; Rom. 5:8; Matt. 9:36, etc.).

A nursing mother will not turn her baby over to someone else as she imparts her own life to that child, but it is also true if she does not feed herself, her baby will suffer (Matt. 4:4; 1 John 1:9). To be “moved with compassion” like Jesus was (that is, to feel deep sympathy and pity- for the well-being of others that results in the Holy Spirit “laboring” through us) we have to feed ourselves or we risk getting sick the very ones we care about (Matt. 14:14; 15:32; 20:34; Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13; John 13:1, 5; Eph. 5:18; Luke 4:4; James 1:22; 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 John 1:9, etc.).

The words for “labor and travail” in 1 Thes. 2:9 mean to toil and even suffer hardship. This divine God-love produces weariness to the point of fatigue and can only come from the Lord’s omnipotent power inside of us (Eph 1:19-21; 2:10; 3:14-21; 5:18; 1 Thes. 1:3; 2 Thes. 3:8; 2 Cor. 11:27, etc.). While it is true a mother laboring for the birth of her child shows this (i.e. John 3:7), it is equally true that good parents (both mothers and fathers) “labor in love” throughout their lives- wanting the best for their children even though it may not be fully appreciated (Gal. 4:19; 2 Cor. 12:14, etc.). We see here, the love of God is often times not reciprocal in this life, but it is ALWAYS supernatural and has eternal reward (1 John 4:19; 2 Cor. 12:15; 1 Cor. 3:13-14, etc.).

By God’s grace, Paul and his missionary team were good examples of Christ when they shared the gospel and started the new church there living “devout… just… and blameless” lives (1 Thes. 2:10; Acts 1:8, etc.). This reflects the call of both godly mothers and fathers as well as all Christians based on who we are in Christ (1 Thes. 2:7, 11; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:11; 12:1-2; Eph. 4:1-2; Gal. 5:16-18, etc.). Paul then turns from the illustration of a mother’s love to that of a “father” (1 Thes. 2:11). -A father’s words are important and he is called to take time to speak to each one (i.e. “every one”) of his family members (1 Thes. 2:11). This is a “labor of love” also as he is called to live the life of Christ turning from sin and any other thing that may impede his time to be involved in the lives of his children (Rom. 12:1-2, 9, etc.).

Godly fathers are to “exhort, comfort and charge” each of their children (1 Thes. 2:11).

  • Exhorting means to call to one’s side and entreat or even implore/beg the child to walk in the right way. It is the father’s number one desire to have his child “GO ON WITH THE LORD” (Gal. 4:19; Heb. 12:1-2, etc.).
  • Comforting deals with activity. Christian encouragement must not become an anesthesia that puts one to sleep, but a stimulant to awaken us to do better (Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:18, etc.).
  • And godly fathers charge or testify honestly to their children about the solemn nature of our Christian duty. Once again, we as God’s stewards are called to be faithful of the master’s resources (Eph. 4:1-7; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:7-11, etc.).

This is all so we “would walk worthy of God” (1 Thes. 2:12). The Bible shows us a disciple is called to discipline, and also that God’s discipline of His children is actually an evidence of His love as He forms Christ in us (Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Heb. 12:3-11; Prov. 13:24, etc.). When we “walk worthy of God” it advances His “kingdom and [brings Him] glory” (1 Thes. 2:12; Eph. 1:6, 12, 14, etc.).

The kingdom of God has both present-day and future application (1 John 5:19; Matt. 6:33; 16:33-17:1; 1 Cor. 15:23-26; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 12:10, etc.). Do we give Him the glory, the dignity, the honor, and praise He is due today? (1 Thes. 2:12; Gal. 4:19; Rom. 12:1-2, etc.). Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords who is coming back… (Rev. 19:11-21). He is also our High Priest- the King of Salem/Jerusalem = peace, who is coming back (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb 5:5-10; 6:19-7:28; Ps. 110:1-7; Acts 1:11; Zech. 14:4, etc.). God’s Word promises, once again, that all that is done by Him through us will have eternal reward (Heb. 12:28-29; Titus 2:11-15; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 4:1-2; 1 John 2:28; 2 John 8, etc.).