From: Rich Carlson
Date: March 5, 2020
Subject: It's March 5; Good Morning Union



“We are not trying to please men but God.”             1 Thessalonians 2:4

As I continue to read the letters of Paul I continue to be amazed and his commitment and dedication to the people God called him to serve. He was physically abused, emotionally abused, and spiritually abused, yet he continued, as I was reminded reading the second chapter of his first letter to the people of Thessalonica, because for him this was not a job, it was a life. Serving God was not something he DID; it was something he WAS!

In spite of his physical abuse back in Philippi and now in Thessalonica, he “dared to tell his gospel in spite of strong opposition.” Vs 2. Though emotionally abused he confirmed his commitment by saying, “We were not looking for praise from men.” Vs6. Even in the spiritual abuse heaped on him he still was all about, “encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God.” Vs 12

But here was my ah-ha stopper this morning—“We are not trying to please men but God, WHO TESTS OUR HEARTS.” For some reason that last phrase stood out to me. Paul was giving his life to the work of God and yet not much of it was turning out “happily ever after” like I would like it to. Paul seemed to be challenged all along his life’s journey with Jesus. I could wish that serving the Lord always resulted in “happily ever after.” It appears, however, that instead of a happy heart Paul got a tested heart. I’ve found that often happy tends more to end in complacency while testing tends more to growth. It works in most of the rest of life, apparently it works in the spiritual life as well. If there were no tests would I study as much? If there were no evaluations and expectations would I ever be eligible for a promotion? If I want to run a marathon isn’t there some training and discipline involved?

Paul suggests to me this morning, in the last verse of this chapter, that he finds his greatest “hope and joy and crown,” not necessarily in the current comforts of life but in “the presence of Jesus when He comes.” It’s ok to be happy and all of life does not have to be a struggle, but there does seem to be some sort of correlation between Paul’s life commitment over just seeing life as a job, his willingness to face the challenges and “abuses” he has to face as lessons or “tests” to measure where he was in his journey with God, and his faithfulness to seeing the big picture that ultimately it will all come together when he sees Jesus at His coming. IN THE MEAN TIME he chose to be faithful to his calling—and this was my second ah-ha for the day—his “glory and his joy” was in the people he was called to serve. And that’s where I find my joy and my glory—in YOU!! You make this life worth living, even the tough things, because I choose to faithfully live my calling in Jesus and watch it play out with YOU, the ones God has called me to serve. Thanks for that opportunity and blessing.

Have a great day finding and focusing on His calling for you,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day:      “Imagine, if you will, an atheist stuck at a green light behind a car with a ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker!”

 

PS        uGather- 10:35 in the church. Recent Union grad, current pastor in Texas, and loved by everyone who has ever crossed his path, J-Fiah Reeves will be sharing his journey with Jesus today.

PPS      Good time to go into your uGroups and record your uWorship activities!