A Daily Dose of Good News
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
At 10:30 today, this devotional will be offered online at https://youtu.be/bt-J6_JboPU
A printer-friendly version of today’s devotion is available at DDGN 20201117
Good morning! It is November 17 and it’s time for our Daily Dose of Good News- welcome to it! We are in Thesselonnians 5:12-18.
But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Here ends the reading.
My initial thought on this, this morning, is the author of Thesselonians had teenagers! (Laughs). What I mean by that, is, do you hear how difficult this passage is? It requires a lot of variance in how we interact with people, in different ways. So, there are to be times that we are admonishing other people, that we’re encouraging them, that we’re helping them, that we’re being patient with them and that we’re not returning evil for evil, but always trying to do good. That’s a lot of shifting! That’s a lot of pivoting! To admonish someone in one moment and encourage in another. To be patient through it all and not return evil with evil. And even at the beginning, it says to respect those who admonish us. So, imagine, maybe if you’re a working parent, you’ve gone to work and you’ve gotten admonished by your boss and then you walk in the door and you have preschool, elementary, middle school, high school, or college age kids that have come back, and as you walk in the door you need to encourage the fainthearted, you need to help the weak, you need to admonish the idlers. That’s a lot to do. The point about shifting often, is in order to do that well, we really have to be grounded in Christ.
Now, for those of you who maybe don’t have kids living at home, how can you think about this passage? There may be other people that you are running into, there may be family members that you’re interacting with, but again, in this current day, where there’s a lot in the water already, it may feel overwhelming to do even one of these tasks. On top of the current environment, with the pandemic numbers increasing and with all the political strife, with all the news, right? It may feel like doing one of these pivots, just doing one of these things, like- help the weak, that might feel overwhelming. It might feel like ‘I’m at my max right now, where I’m at, ok?’
So, I think the key portion of this passage is at the very end. They could have said it at the beginning and the end, like bookends, to make the point. The last verse is: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.
That gratitude, that constant prayer, that rejoicing and looking for the good is part of what grounds us in and gives us roots to stabilize us during all those transitions. During all those things that God is asking us to do. So, a playful way to think of this today, is to think of how you can encourage your own thankfulness, reminders to pray, and reminders to rejoice. So, here’s an example, here, from my place, not that it’s the only way, but it’s one that works for me… This is a little tree that has little leaves sprinkled around it. Over here are little pieces of paper, and you might be able to see what they say: “In gratitude for…” or “So grateful for…” So you can write something on that everyday and then hang that on the tree. Then, as soon you get a lot of leaves to remember there is good in this world, there’s lots to be thankful for, and help God ground and root you in remembering that, as you do whatever pivots are necessary.
God’s peace everybody, bye-bye.