We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
When Paul remembers their work of faith, labour of love and patience of hope, which is done in Christ and in the sight of God the father, he prays to give thanks to Gods for them.
So what does he mean by “Work of Faith, Labour of Love and Patience of Hope”?
- A Good Sign
First, this is something for which he is thankful so this is something he is keen to see in them. The implication is this is something to look for in a believer. Our service in Christ and in the sight of the Father should have all this stuff: work, labour, patience (endurance), faith, love & hope. The work stuff shows on the outside and it comes from the faith/love stuff on the inside. When these things are evident to an outside observer this is a good sign you’re headed in the right direction.
But what are these things and how do they work together?
- A Good Serve
Work is action, when you exert yourself in some form of service. To do that for the Lord requires faith, and it is only pleasing to God when it comes from your faith. (Heb 11:5-6)
Labour is action + pain. This is when your service causes you to ache or suffer a bit. To do this requires love. Love enables us to sacrifice our pleasure and endure pain for his name sake. (Ephesians 5:2)
Patience is action + pain + time. This is when your sacrificial service is done repeatedly over a period of time. This requires hope. Our eternal hope enables us to endure. (Romans 8:25)
This is how we are suppose to serve God. He wants to serve him by faith. Wants us to sacrifice out of love. And he wants us to stick with it because we are filled with the hope that our service is worth it. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
- A Good Start
The church at Thessalonica was a young church. Paul seems to think they are off to a good start. All of our service is done in the sight of God and I think he would like to see these things in us. Perhaps we could make a good start.
- We could start with an act of faith.
- We could maybe add bit of loving sacrifice.
- What if we became filled with hope and started doing this repeatedly?
Imagine how pleased our Father would be. And who knows what he might do through us for the glory of Christ.