1Th 2:5-8 “For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”
In the fourth verse of this chapter, Paul has attested to the fact that their desire was to please God and not man. At no time did Paul or his companions try to tell the Thessalonians how wonderful they were, but instead they preached Jesus. They did not try to use the gospel of Christ to cover their own greed for the goods of the Thessalonians. It should be evident to believers today that there are men who attempt to do just that. They hide their covetousness behind flattering words and try to make it appear that God is in the message.
The word of God is used to try and gain wealth from His people by some. For others, it is about developing a large following, not in order to give God glory, but to boast in their own self-righteous deceit. Rest assured that no matter how clever man may think he is being, God is witness. The word translated as “witness” carries not only the idea of seeing but also of bearing record. God not only sees when we try to cloak ungodly motives behind His word, but He is going to bring those things into the open.
Those that truly seek to serve and honor God are not going to come seeking to be glorified. When we come with the love of Jesus in our hearts we do not want glory from those we serve or from others who might be observing from a distance. Paul observed that because they were apostles of Jesus some might assume they would expect to be treated with honor. However, these men did not come seeking honor of the Thessalonians or of anyone else. Instead they came to honor God.
By God’s tender mercy, the ministers of Jesus Christ are gifted with a great and deep love for God’s people. We have a strong and urgent desire to see His children comforted and instructed in His word. We desire to see the church nourished with the truth of the good message of God’s love. God gives His servants a gentleness for His beloved children, even as a nurse (as one who gives care) is gentle with the children in her charge. How marvelous it is that God gives His servants such a great depth of love for those He calls them to minister to.
Paul’s love for the church at Thessalonica was such that he shared with them the good news of Jesus Christ. Then he says that even that did not cover the depth of the love he had been given from God for them. Paul told these brethren that they were so dear that he had not only been willing to share with them the gospel, but he, Silas, and Timothy would have given their very lives to help them. If we are to serve God and His church in truth, then our love must be in this same vein; that the welfare of the church is worth dying for.
May God give us the depth of courage and love for His church that we are willing to preach His word in honesty even if it requires our very souls to do so!