Abounding in Love

Among other things, Paul is thankful for the gift of the church.

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13.

These verses are a celebration of a healthy church. The church at Thessalonica brings Paul and his companions great joy as they function together to be the body of Christ. And even though it is not perfect (see the end of vs. 10: “…and restore whatever is lacking in your faith”), God is working through them, giving Paul reason for rejoicing.

Because of what the church has brought to Paul’s spirit, he turns to blessing. The blessing isn’t, “And may you become the biggest church in town” or “May your giving increase ten-fold.” Instead, his prayer is that the church may increase and abound in love for each other and for all people, to  increase in holiness and to stand before God without blemish. For Paul, this is the ideal – the measure of success for the body of Christ.

What gifts does the church bring to you? What, about the church, brings you joy? In what ways does our church function in healthy ways and what are the indications that there might be something lacking in our faith? Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the church – both the local and the global church. Pray a blessing over her work.


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