Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 19, Daniel 1, Psalm 105, 1 Thessalonians 2.
“19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
I’ll be honest. My understanding of what I am going to want to “show off” to the Lord when He returns is a bit different than Paul’s.
Okay, a LOT different.
First of all, I don’t really think about it all that much.
Second, there is a catch in my gut that it’s not right to want to “boast before our Lord Jesus.”
But the biggie? When I think of my “hope” or my “joy” or my “crown of boasting” that I will be engaged in at the end, I don’t usually think about people.
I think about works. I think about stuff I did (or gonna do).
“Hey Jesus, look over here at me! I was a pastor!”
“Hey Jesus, did you read my book?”
“Hey Jesus, how did you like my trip to Africa that time?”
That’s not Paul’s understanding of what it’s all about.
His “hope” and “joy” and “crown of boasting”? People. Changed people. Individuals who were transformed into the image of Jesus due to his presence in their lives.
Paul told the Thessalonian believers that his boast before the Lord would be them! He would point to them as the validity of his life and ministry. He would “get Jesus’ attention” (so to speak) by putting before Him a group of men and women who became disciples who made disciples.
Oh how important this is to remember!
It’s about people, people.
Paul didn’t do ministry so that God would like him more.
Paul didn’t do ministry so that God would think he was real.
Paul didn’t go to Thessalonica to plant a church so he could send a letter to his supporters pointing to the numbers of people he had at church on Sunday.
Paul didn’t preach a sermon so he could get likes on Facebook.
Paul didn’t hope LifeWay would call to have him write a book on church growth (though he did get asked by God to write half the New Testament!).
No, no. Paul did ministry in order to effect life change in people. Individuals. Paul knew that the validity of his life and ministry before God would be verified by men and women, boys and girls who were transformed.
Paul loved people and wanted to see them live the way they were created to live.
What about you? What will you point to when Jesus returns? What will you offer Him? Who’s life looks more like Jesus due to your presence and influence? Who are you intentionally and purposefully pouring into in the hopes that God transforms them?
Who, not what, is your “hope” and “joy” and anticipated “crown of boasting”?
Let’s remember: It’s about people, people.