“So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith . . .” (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2).
Again and again Paul tried to return to Thessalonica. Through whatever means, Satan foiled his plans. Paul was so eager to make contact with his church family in Thessalonica, he sent Timothy to them. Timothy had been part of Paul’s team in spreading the gospel. Now he was charged with another mission. Timothy was sent to strengthen the church. His goal was to encourage their faith.
Let’s wrestle with some tough questions. Are you an encourager? Have you ever set out on an intentional mission to encourage someone, to help them become stronger in their faith? Are you the type of person, who like Timothy, would be chosen for such a mission?
Answering these questions requires taking a look over your shoulder at past relationships. Are people stronger in their faith after associating with you? Do your friends tend to get more committed in their spiritual life? What is your spiritual relationship history? Do people you befriend grow in their faith or lose interest?
If you were to set out on a mission to strengthen and encourage someone, how would you go about doing it? In what ways would a spiritually strengthening plan compare to a body strengthening plan?
Everybody needs a Timothy, someone to come alongside them and cheer on their spiritual formation. The world is full of obstacles and distractions to faith. What a blessing it is to have someone rooting for your Christian development!
You are surrounded by people who need encouragement. Maybe it’s time for you to go on a mission. Start encouraging. How awesome would it be to look back in six months and see someone who was stronger in their faith because of your mission!