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. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 NIV
In 2005 I had the privilege to go to Tanzania, Africa to preach in an outdoor evangelistic crusade and participate in a Dr. John Mokiwa’s first class of graduates from his Bible school. The crusade would be for 3 successive nights. My friend, Dr. Mokiwa, asked me how much I would pay for promoting and advertising myself for the crusade?
In my mind, I thought evangelists should receive an honorarium? Yet, I would have to pay for my tickets, and pay for advertising. This promotion included posters attached to trees in the city with my picture on it. On the days of the event there was a car driving around town with a loud speaker attached. I witnessed hearing this car, by recognizing my name, Greg Rogers in the middle of the Swahili advertisement. It sounded similar to Ice Cream trucks wandering through the neighborhood. It was an honor that I was learning to appreciate.
Paul understood the cost and servant attitude necessary for the presentation of the gospel. The birthing of a new church rested on the church planter and his team. Jesus came as a servant seeking those who were lost. This captures the spirit in which Paul is asking the Thessalonians to remember. He labored so that they would not be burdened.
Some reflective thoughts on today’s verse
- Are you financially supporting evangelist or evangelistic ministries? Most evangelists do not have regular income from a sponsoring church. They incur the expense themselves, even when there are few supporters.
- Do you have intentional actions in which you are giving with no plans to receive back financially? Jesus taught that some meals we are to invite those who will not be able to return the favor. When was the last time that you served or ate with someone in this type of meal?
- Do you understand what activities store treasures up in heaven as opposed to storing up treasures on earth?
- What would you be willing to give in money and effort to personally participate in sharing the good news of Jesus in which a person becomes a follower?
- If having a servant attitude is similar to parenting, how do you teach Jesus’ followers to mature toward giving instead of “what’s in it for me”?
“Night and day” reflects the consistency of his efforts, Most likely he would work at his tent trade at night and preach the gospel in the day. We have the knowledge and possession of good news that impacts someone’s eternal destiny. The sacrifice is well worth the effort.
I was deeply honored to preach the crusade in which nearly 2000 people came on the last night. My interpreter had the gift of evangelism….he said a lot more than just translating for me. We had the privilege of people responding to the invitation and receiving healing in Jesus name.
May we understand how to exchange our earthly wealth for spiritual treasures.
Blessings Love y’all