May 21, 2017                

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

 In the opening verses of his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul demonstrated a spirit of appreciation. This spirit should mark the life of every believer. We need to learn how to express appreciation more and more. It is always a blessing to know that someone appreciates what you do that makes a difference in their lives. In this season when our students graduate and complete a part of their life’s journey we need to take time to express our gratitude to those who help us and encourage us in life.

Do you show appreciation to people?

Does it make you feel good to know that people appreciate you?

1.                  The Attitude

The expression in verse 2, “We always thank God,” comes from the word “eucharisteo” which means to be grateful and to express gratitude. The Lord’s Supper is called the Eucharist. Paul’s expression of appreciation tells us more about him than the Thessalonians. Some in Thessalonica did not like Paul or support his ministry. Yet, Paul said he gave thanks for all of them. Paul did not allow the feelings of some to determine his attitude. Instead he showed appreciation to all regardless of how they felt. Paul had an attitude that motivated him to look for the best in the worst and the most in the least. Jesus looked at sinners and saw the potential for service and honor. We have the same two choices. We can allow others to determine our attitude or we can shape our own attitude through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Do you allow others to alter and affect your attitude?

Do you believe God is in control through all things in life?

            Then why do we act like He is not when something challenges us?

Does God use challenges and hardships to help us grow and mature?

2.                  The Action

In the second part of the verse, Paul described an action which derived from that attitude. Paul did not just say that he appreciated the Thessalonians. Sometimes words are not enough. He did something that would demonstrate that appreciation: he prayed for them. Paul could have taken other actions to demonstrate his appreciation, but the point is that he did something. He acted. He gave a real expression to his appreciation. Appreciation is not just something to be felt; it is something to be expressed. Appreciation should not only be our attitude; it should also be reflected in our actions.

Who is a person you need to express appreciation for?

In what ways could you express appreciation this week?

3          The Attachment

Attachment means the connection by which one thing is attached to another. It also indicates strong affection and fondness of others. We are to be attached to God and to one another. Paul said, “We 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.” (v3) How has God involved you in His work and ministry? Do you continually feel God prompting you through His love to become more involved with a thankful spirit? Has God taught you to hang in there and endure because of the hope we have in Jesus Christ and the eternal Kingdom that is coming? HCC is a local body of believers called to be a part of the family of God and to participate in the will of God through sharing the love of God, teaching the truths of God, and serving Him on a daily basis. When we discover God doing great and glorious things we need to join Him in this work. What a privilege to be used by God to be a blessing to others and to appreciate all that God and others have done for you. Put a smile on your face, enjoy the journey, be thankful, and glorify the Lord this week!