Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Ourselves to Others

1 Thessalonians 2:8

…so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

IMG_0301As a pastor – the son of a pastor – and the grandson of a pastor – I have a different view of the pastor’s home and life than some. I want to begin with today’s passage in partial context – and the relational stuff will follow. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-9 – 1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

Paul saw his ministry as one of giving and sharing with others. He never saw himself trying to please people – rather he found himself compelled to please God – yet it was people he was serving. Like a loving parent – Paul loved the people. The line that hits home with me the most in this passage – related to a pastor and their lives – is this one – Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

Pastors (not only pastors but I will focus on them today) tend to give their lives to their work – their congregations. Their personal and professional lives often tend to be mixed. Some pastors move more often than others – some stay for long periods of time (I have experienced both in my ministry). Each time pastors move – pastors are often uprooted from their homes – pastor’s families are uprooted too – from schools and friends. Friends made and environments where we grew comfortable are exchanged for unfamiliar folks and environments. Military families experience this as well and others too.

Pastors often live and breathe where they serve. We try to make friends outside the church – but often either don’t have the time or move to far away from them when we move to keep up the relationships. Family members become very precious to us.

Sharing our lives is part of the calling for pastors. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. At times this can be a steep price. At times it comes with many blessings. Sharing our lives with others is part of being a pastor. Maybe it is part of being a Christian – something we all do or should consider doing. Being a Christian is not a part-time life – but rather one where we give ourselves fully to others as we give ourselves to Christ.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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March 27, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , ,

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