BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7 ESV
You can count on it, you can observe it. Those who are good examples, have had good examples to follow. Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica is described in Acts 17. There were many Jews and Greeks who turned to Christ, but those who were jealous of Paul and his companions created an uproar in the city. Paul commends these faithful followers of Christ for embracing the gospel.
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4,5 ESV)
Those who turned to Christ needed to be grounded and established in their faith. As a result, they learned from Paul and his companions how to serve Christ and be true to Him. First of all, Paul through the example of his life proved himself to be a trustworthy example.
I recall the saying, “you can impress people from a distance, but you impact them up close.” I believe the Thessalonian believers had an opportunity to see how the Holy Spirit used Paul and also to be impacted through relationship with him. This wasn’t just a “run into town, preach and leave” and hope those who responded to the gospel “figure it out for themselves.”
There was adequate time and relationship for the Thessalonian believers to follow the example and teaching of Paul and his companions. The result of that was through their steadfast faith and perseverance, they became examples for others in the region.
We see this was done in “word” and in “deed.” “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere…” (1 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV)
The believers in Thessalonica became examples to others, because they learned from the example of others. I believe this demonstrates that the impact of our lives is not based on “what” we know, but “who” we know; and who has been an influence on us.
We can observe this in many arenas in life. You may want to stop and consider who has served as a “role model” as an “example” in your faith and perhaps even in your profession. I believe that you will observe what we see in these reflections of scripture; the impact that we have on others, is because of those who have had an impact on us. That ripple effect can be seen in multiple ways and down through the generations.
Prayer for today…. Lord thank You for those who made an impact on us and have served as examples of faith and faithfulness. Allow our lives to be lived in such a way as to be an example to others.