the weblog of Alan Knox

Among you and for your sakes

Posted by on Feb 13, 2010 in blog links, discipleship, missional, service | 1 comment

This is from Dave Black’s blog this morning (Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 6:45 am):

In Greek 4 we’re going through 1 Thessalonians. The last line on this page of my Greek New Testament is 1 Thess. 1:5, where Paul says “You know what kind of people we were among you for your sakes.”

These two brief prepositional phrases pack a wallop: “Among you,” “for your sakes.” What a vast area of thought that opens up! This was Paul’s missionary method and motivation. He did everything “among the people,” not from the outside (or from above). He did everything on their behalf, not for his own benefit. I must learn from Paul. I must live among the people when I am in Ethiopia — not above them or beyond them. And I must make sure that they know I am there to serve them, not myself.

Yes, yes. “Among you” and “for your sakes”… but not just for the people in Ethiopia, or other people “over there.”

What about the people you work with everyday? What about your neighbors? What about the people that you meet with every week? Do they know what kind of person (i.e., a child of God) you are because they way you act when you are “among them” is “for their sakes” – i.e., to serve them and for their benefit?

One Comment

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  1. 2-13-2010

    “What kind of people we were” both moves me and scares me. It scares me because it is no easy walk to become Christlike so that we manifest Him to those around us in every sort of circumstance, and I see that this is the essential requirement for fruitfulness.

    This “being the message” wherever we are is also evident in II Cor where Paul uses the idea of “making manifest” seven times. This speaks of “lifestyle” evangelism of the lost and “lifestyle” discipleship of the saved (lifestyle being the medium of communication and instruction). I’m certain lectures and charts are more in my capability *sigh*.

    Everywhere Paul went, he experienced opposition and misrepresentation, even physical attacks and suffering. We think of Christianity as making everything better (what we call blessed). But, how we react when things go wrong is much more important than things going right. Apparently, God has that memo. Our lives do NOT go smoothly as believers!

    It is one thing to know (and provide all the supporting verses) that how we endure wrong rather than how well we enforce our rights demonstrates God’s grace and power. It is quite another to learn to rejoice in trials and endure them with joy. But this is our greatest privilege.

    For example, look at II Cor 4:11:

    “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be *made manifest* in our mortal flesh.” (see also II Cor 2:14; II Cor 3:3; II Cor 4:2,10; II Cor 5:11; II Cor 11:6).

    This isn’t what we typically understand about being blessed or being a blessing! Paul also refers to this in II Cor 1:12 (where the old English “conversation” means manner of life):

    “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”