The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.
II Thessalonians 3:1-5 says, “1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
As Paul is closing this letter written to the Church in Thessalonica, he gives a warm insight into the relationship between pastors and their congregation, shepherds and their sheep.
I cannot remember a time in my ministry where a member of any congregation I helped pastor asked, “What do you want from me?”
I have heard people ask, “How can I encourage you” or “How can I pray for you” or “Is there anything you need.” But never, “What do you want from me as a member of this church?”
It may seem like a strange question for anyone to ask, especially since the tone of sarcasm can really ruin such a question. However, I think it is not only a fair question to ask, but Paul I believe answers it here in these verses.
As a faithful shepherd, Paul shows us what every pastor longs to see in his people.
First, pastors want their church to be praying for them (vs. 1-2). I once heard John MacArthur say, “The strongest of the strong needs the prayers of the weak.” We are doomed to fail as pastors without the power of prayer assisting us to do His work.
Second, pastors want their church to demonstrate a consistent trust in the faithfulness of God (vs. 3). They want to see a calm resolve when uncertainties surround their sheep.
Third, pastors want their church to be obedient (vs. 4). This is not to say that people should do everything their pastor says, but if their pastor is exhorting them to do something God’s Word says, then, by all means, do it.
Fourth, and finally, pastors want their church to grow (vs. 5). What Paul has in mind here is not the megachurch but that kind of spiritual growth that often gets put off to the sign in favor of numerical growth. Pastors want to see their people go deeper into their relationship with the Lord.
These qualities that Paul mentions are not just for the pastor’s own encouragement or edification. They are ultimately what God wants to see and longs for in His people.
Be prayerful; be trusting; be obedient; be sanctified.