Reading: 1st Thessalonians 3: 9-13
Verse 12: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.”
Our passage today speaks again of love. Paul begins by thanking God for the joy found in the church in Thessalonica. Paul longs to be with them and to continue to encourage them in their faith. Paul asks that God would “clear the way” for him and his companions to return. Even though Paul fled under duress and even though the church is still being persecuted, Paul still longs to return to his brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is into this reality that Paul writes verse twelve. Now more than ever must the love of God be made known. Here he writes, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.” To make love known, it is first God who supplies the love and the power to increase that love. God is the source; God is the one that makes it grow. Second, faith begins with love for one another. Living out their faith in a hostile world required a deep bond between the believers. They could comfort and encourage and support and strengthen one another. Third, their faith was modeled in how they loved the world around them – those in need, those who were searching, and even those who persecuted them. Love for the other was their primary public witness to their faith and to God’s love for all of creation.
The church modeled love. Loving God, loving one another, and loving the world around them, the early church modeled their belief, their faith. As followers of Jesus Christ they were strengthened, made more blameless and more holy, readied ever more for the day of the Lord. May we too model this belief, growing day by day in our faith. May it be so.
Prayer: Lord God, today may I love you with my whole heart. In my life may that love overflow into the lives of all I meet – into all the world! Amen.