Today is the anniversary of the day I became a Christian back when I was in college. I find myself wondering what my life would have been like if I’d become a Christian in today’s church rather than the church of that time. How do you treat new believers in your midst?
For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness—nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection 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 very dear to us.
For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:5–12
If there is a phrase that characterized those I knew then, it would be faithful love—a love of support, shelter, teaching, and encouragement. All those things are included and more in Paul’s words, “Having so fond an affection 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 very dear to us.” Faithful love that reflected the love of the God we knew.
And as I wonder what my life would have been like if I’d become a Christian in today’s church rather than the one I knew then, I wonder how I would have survived without that foundation. But in those early years, I did more than survive; I thrived.
How do you treat new and young Christians in your midst? How do you treat Christians in your midst? What is the effect of your life on theirs? Do you help them thrive? Do you care if they survive?
So fond an affection—well-pleased to impart to you…the gospel of God…our own lives—you had become very dear to us. That is love pouring over, freely given with joy. A love that walks alongside, imparting God’s truth and glad to impart its life. Faithful love.
Heart-[foto & Concept by paul b. toman], Plismo: Creative Commons Attribution
Original content: Copyright ©2012 Iwana Carpenter