2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
In a recent council meeting we were discussing plans to make changes in the church. The issues had been discussed with the congregation and apparently received some resistance. The comment was made, “I hate all the arguing.”
In my years in ministry I have seen all too often the work of the Lord going undone or unfinished because someone – and usually only one or two – has raised an objection. With a single complaint or a single obstacle the ministry grinds to a halt and we do not live out the kingdom of God.
In this letter to the believers in Thessalonica we see a request for prayer. What two things are requested? Why are these prayers needed?
A call to prayer has been issued. We can assume that the prayer request is for Paul, Silas and Timothy (see 2 Thessalonians 1:1), but it may include other faithful people trying to do the Lord’s work. The author has asked that prayers be offered, not so that wealth and power and prestige can be obtained, but so the message of Jesus Christ might spread. The gospel news of Christ’s salvation should be shared rapidly and be honored by those who hear.
But the prayer request is also for those doing the work. They need protection from evil people, people who may be thinking more about themselves than they are about the good work of God. Those persons who are detractors and who serve as distractions and hurdles to the work do not have the faith.
We can encounter this same situation as the church attempts to move forward. We need the same prayers being offered.
As we examine our ministry and the plans to do more work in the kingdom of God we are likely to face many obstacles. Some will be financial barriers. Some will be logistical barriers. But many barriers will be nothing more than a person’s attitude and voice, and many of these obstacles will be inside the walls of the church.
The faithful servant must pray that God will bless the work being done. The faithful servant must pray that God will be honored by the ministry. And then we must pray that the problems will be removed, taken care of by our Lord.
DAILY CHALLENGE: What obstacles can God help you overcome?