Tuesday of the Week of Advent II
But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. — I Thessalonians 5:12-28
We can appreciate that the daily lectionary often provides us with continuous readings in Scripture. Our reading today continues the reading cited yesterday, and it is worth continuing to read in I Thessalonians. We might say today’s devotion is “Encouraging and Building Up, Part 2.”
We can say without hesitation that the struggles and tensions in the early Church were much the same as ours. People then, as now, chafe under leadership—even in the Body of Christ. So much so that Paul needed to remind the Thessalonians to respect those who labored among them and were over them in the Lord. Although some are called to positions of leadership in the Body, the Lord makes it clear that we are not to lord it over others, but to serve lovingly and faithfully. Church leaders are sometimes guilty of failing in that. At the same time, members forget to show leaders respect and forbearance. Surely it was the same in Paul’s day, causing him to plead, “Be at peace among yourselves.” And how does that happen in the Church?
Paul goes on: admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all. Don’t repay evil for evil. And above all, rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances… do not quench the Spirit, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.
A church council and every congregation would do well to begin and end every gathering with these words—and especially during the season of Advent, as we prepare for the coming of the Prince of Peace!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give peace in our hearts, our homes, our churches and our world. Amen.
Advent Action: As you share the peace during worship, wish others not just “peace,” but “The Peace of the Lord!”
The 2016 Advent Devotional, based on Year I of the LBW and written by Pastor David Wendel, is available for download/printing in two formats and as a daily text/email message.