Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave, be strong. Do all your work in love.
You know about Stephanas and his family; they are the first Christian converts in Achaia and have given themselves to the service of God’s people. I beg you, my friends, to follow the leadership of such people as these, and of anyone else who works and serves with them.
If we’ve been Christian for as long as we can remember , it sometimes irks us when we see new Christians bubbling over with enthusiasm and perhaps even being a little critical of our seeming lack of involvement in reaching out to people with God’s love.
There are a couple of ways we can respond. We can put such people in their place, reminding them who built this church and whose family has supported it for years. We can remind them that we’re not one of those ‘new’ churches where people show their feelings excessively, and that they should get to know the way we do things before they tell us how we should be acting. We could do this, and risk losing them to one of the churches we are so critical of.
Or we can take Paul’s advice. We can thank God for the joy and energy of people who have recently come to see how much God has done for them. Rather than try to squelch their enthusiasm, we can use it to rekindle ours, so that together we can do God’s work of making more new Christians. So they, too, can stimulate us with their enthusiasm!
Thank you for the enthusiasm of people who have come to know you, Lord. Renew me, so that I too may glow with your love. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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