“You were so dear to us!”

1 Thess 2:8 GNB

Christian church. Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence and activity. Every Christian believer should be empowered by it. And every Christian minister should be motivated by it. “William Booth was always haunted by concern for others. After 1868 he never spent a Christmas Day with his family at home. That year he did, after returning from a Christmas morning preaching engagement. But he was troubled. He said, ‘I’ll never do this again. The poor have nothing but the public house, nothing but the public house.’ That was true concern. William Booth was a man in whom dwelt the compassionate Spirit of Christ” (The Soldier’s Armoury, 1974, p108).

Reading the New Testament accounts of the life, travels and achievements of the apostle Paul you become amazed at his intellect, formulating Christian doctrine for the first time. You marvel at his tireless energy, his wearying travels, his creative writing, his grasp of truth, and his leadership of the churches that he founded. You wonder at his deep grasp of God’s control of his life and his understanding of Christian discipleship. He actually “shaped” Christianity in its formative years. You do not expect this giant of a man to regard the people to whom he and his fellow-teachers ministered to express tenderness and endearment. But he did. Underneath the immense thought and passionate striving for the truth there was a tender heart. The people to whom he had brought the gospel were dear to him.

Try to encourage this tenderness and love in your congregation. It comes from the Holy Spirit’s working.

Lord, help our community to love one another.

Lord, I pray for students who will be receiving news of their exam results at this time of the year. Help them to respond to good news with thanksgiving and to greet bad news with the determination to try again. Help them all to mature and move forward. I ask in Jesus’ name. AMEN

I.B.R.A. Readings
Joel 2:1–14