Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 3 “may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all….” Once again we are at the heart of stewardship. The favorite Bible verse for Cumberland Presbyterians through the years has been John 3:16, which portrays God’s love for us as the basis of the gospel. Jesus’ statement of the commandments links God’s love and our love for one another. Paul adds to our understand by noting that our love for one another derives from God’s love for us. It is through love that God strengthens our hearts in holiness, making us acceptable before God.
Stewardship is a matter of living a life of love. Paul pointed out the importance of Christian discipleship in the process of learning to love one another. He cited learning from life as they had learned from him how they “ought to live and to please God.” He also reminded them of his instructions.
At this point Paul gave some interesting advice: Mind your own business! Love is not taking control of another person’s life nor being judgmental, but rather helping to make that person free. As Jesus Christ said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The love of God is giving what is needed. We need the savior, Jesus Christ. As we love one another we give what is needed. What a person needs may be different from what they want. May God help us know the difference between the two.
- Is it possible for a person to love God and not love neighbors? Can a person love another and not give what is needed in that relationship?
- What does Paul’s writing teach us about the importance of being actively involved in Christian discipleship today?
- We think in terms of God’s holiness. What does Paul teach about holiness in our lives? What is the source of holiness?
- There are divisions that arise within the church from time to time. Do you agree that the stewardship of love teaches us to allow one another the freedom to differ in God’s love? Would this be a meaning of Paul’s admonition to mind your own affairs?
How Do I Act?
- Determine what you believe living “quietly” would mean for you today. Set aside a time, a day, a week, and try to live your life quietly, as you think it should be.
- If you know a family who takes care of someone in constant need, offer to take their place as caregiver for a few hours so they can get away. Or volunteer at a nearby nursing home to sit with someone who just needs company.
- Pray for those in need on our mission fields and give wings to that prayer by making a second mile offering. Missions Ministry Team, 8207 Traditional Place, Cordova, TN 38016.