Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Faith, Love and Hope

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (New International Version)
3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm still in the running on the Marathon of Biblical Proportions, but oh, I am soooo far behind.

We were supposed to be through the Bible by the end of December and here we are in April and I just finished 1 Thessalonians this morning. I confess this partly to console fellow laggards if there are any out there.

I laugh, but really I'm not too worried. I'm enjoying my solitary trot, even if Paul does rub in from time to time that he is leaving me in the dust as he races through for the second time. I can't help it; I am a contemplative soul at heart and God does arrest my steps sometimes, just as I start to read. He did it this morning just three verses into Thessalonians--the words danced on the page before my eyes in a pattern. I found myself pondering:

Work produced by faith

Labour prompted by love

Endurance inspired by hope (in our Lord Jesus)

"Hmmmm," I thought, "So faith produces work." James tells us that faith without action is dead, so that makes sense. Faith should result in an impulse to do something practical in response.

Labour seems a step beyond mere work, however. It makes me think of rolled up sleeves and worn out knees. It is a response that flows from a glad heart of love. We gladly pour ourselves out for others when we love.

Endurance is the final point. I loved that the New International Version says that endurance is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus. Hope is the breath that envigorates the work or labour. Inspiration means to breathe, therefore a heart filled with hope breathes life and energy into what we do. Even when the going gets tough we can endure when we breathe in hope.

And it is all summed up beautifully at the end of the book:
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (New International Version)
8 ...putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.


night owl said...

hmm... well, if it's any consolation, i'm MUCH further behind than that! but shhh, don't tell anyone. :)
i guess i'm a contemplative spirit too. :)
i'm so sorry about Hope, Belinda - my warmest condolences.
Love, Night Owl

night owl said...

oh, and what i meant to say (it might just be too early in the morning): work is sort of like prayer i keep telling myself. the whole point of working (at least for me) is for His glory, and i think God appreciates our humble gifts. i think? s.d.g. :)

Belinda said...

Night Owl,
How very true that work is like prayer and we wouldn't pray if we didn't have faith that someone was listening.

It's so good to hear from you. I loved your musical composition the "work of your hands," heard recently.

Deidra said...

I'm always amazed when the word comes alive to me. It stops me in my tracks. I'm trying to read the Bible every day this year, but find myself so easily distracted. And then I pick up and open it, find my cup overflowing, and wonder why I stayed away so long. Thanks for the encouragement!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Those are three very powerful lines. I've actually copied them and pasted them over onto my computer. i don't want to forget them. Night Owl is right about work being like a prayer (to quote the OTHER Madonna). I read like you do too. If I come across a passage that astounds me by it's meaning or message sometimes perhaps even by the beauty of expression. I have to stop, I have to read it again and again. To me this is a kind of sweet communing.

Marilyn said...

Laggards UNITE!!

It's DEPTH not distance that gives the Word a chance to become ALIVE in us.

I'm not faulting those who set 'covering the distance' as their personal challenge. There are benefits to covering the course, but.... there are gems missed, too.

God can show up either way.

Meg said...

Loved the simplicity of your style and the depth of your words...winsome and wise...

Thank you Belinda, again. And thank you for the sad and powerful story from your family history. Makes me think I might do a series on mine too when I get them organized.

Belinda said...

Thank you dear friends. We are all kindred spirits I think! I so related to all that you wrote.

Why, Marilyn, what a rallying cry, "Laggards unite." Ha ha! It might be a very slow uniting. :)

Meg, yes! Do it! I would love to hear their stories. I am discovering that people's lives are so fascinating in that each one has their own anguish and joys.

Deidra said...

I had to come back to see what else was said. I am laughing at a vision of laggards uniting, and warmed within by Meg's reminder that deep calls to deep.

Blessed evening to you all!

Belinda said...

Blessed evening to you, too, Deidra!:)