I am so glad you are here.
I mean that.
I never know who I am writing to and who will be on the other side of this screen, but I am thankful for you. I am thankful you were led to come meet with me and I am thankful you are taking the time out of a busy life to just read what’s on my heart.
If you know me, you know I joke about having a deep love for the hermit life. I can do without large groups, noise from the outside world and small talk. But I have learned in this Covid 2020 life that I cannot do without fellowship.
I am blessed to have married my favorite person in the world and I am thankful beyond words for him to be here during this time. I am thankful I get to see our little ones and their mommy and daddy. I am thankful for our middle one who has carefully distanced and yet made the effort to stay in touch and visit within the parameters of safety.
She’s a hugger like me and I am sure it has been difficult but her heart is big and she has tried her best to keep us safe.
I miss our youngest like crazy. We would have seen him sometime this fall. I am thankful for his willingness to make the trip home for his summer birthday and I look forward to the hope that he will make it home for Christmas. But I miss him.
We have used texts and calls more, we have burned up data on What’s App and we have mastered the zoom and teleconference calls to stay connected.
We love them and staying in touch is important to our relationships.
And that is what I see in the opening lines of 1 Thessalonians.
Paul loved his people.
Separated by distance and time did not diminish it.
It is a corporate, communal love.
Repeatedly he uses “we” and “you all.”
He sends them grace and peace.
He knows them and they know him.
He brags on them.
Go through the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians and circle all the times he uses “we” and “you all.” Your Bible may just say “you” but Paul is talking to all the believers in Thessalonica. So if you have some southern in you, go ahead and just read you as “y’all.”
This morning I want you to read it and think of Paul loving this group of people and reaching out to them through a letter. Look at how he prays for them and what he thinks about them.
If Paul could remain close and build relationship through snail mail, how much more can we do so in this day of instant communication. But it wasn’t in chatting with them that this love grew and blossomed, it was in thinking about them and praying for them and being thankful for them that his heart grew more and more in love with these flesh and bone humans.
Take a minute and think of your people.
Think of your family, each one of them by name. Think of your friends and picture their faces and their families.
This may take a while because you will start with your small circle but God will remind you of others and as you think on all those the Lord has blessed you to love, and care about and know…your heart will be so filled with love and joy.
You may miss them terribly. They may dance on your ever-loving last nerve…but as you apply Paul’s words of thanksgiving for each life who intersects with yours, I truly believe you will be filled to overflowing with gratitude to God for the gift of each one.
Can you think of a better way to spend some time today than just thanking God for your people? For His people?
I am thanking Him for YOU right now.