Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8
In 323 BC Alexander the Great died in Babylon. His kingdom was divided up by four warring generals. One of those generals was named Cassander and he ruled Macedonia. In 315 BC Cassander established his capital at an ancient city named Therma or Hot Springs. He then renamed that city Thessalonica after his wife who was Alexander’s step sister. Today the name has been shortened to Salonia or Saloniki.
In Paul’s day, this capital city was the most important commerce center in the region. It was situated on the Via Egnatia (the great Roman road from west to east) and its harbor was strategically located at the head of the Aegean Sea. It was a thriving metropolitan area full of vice, full of greed, and full of false religion.
Yet in this city was the church of Thessalonica, and Paul said that their faith, was a faith worth, talking about, he said that these Christians had it together. The work they did in the church, was produced by faith in Christ, not by guilt or duty, they had ministries not jobs in the church and heir labor, the struggle and effort, that they exerted for the work of the kingdom, was prompted by a love for Jesus and a love for others.
Their endurance, their stick-to-it-ness, there willingness to endure pain for kingdom work, their ability to tread water just a little longer was inspired by their hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew that someday they would have the life they always dreamed of. They were imitators of Jesus and tried to do what Jesus would do.
You see there were difficulties in the city but they focused on Christ. To lead a football team down the field there will be opposition, to lead a company or to lead a family there will be opposition. Those who lead God’s church will certainly face opposition.
To do what you know is the right thing – in the face of opposition takes courage. Have you ever face opposition as you tried to be a leader? Now if anyone understood strong opposition it was the Apostle Paul. Just before Paul’s visit to Thessalonica — he spent some time in Philippi, he says in 2:2 of our text, “we had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi.”
Good leaders, will stand up in spite of strong opposition, and good leaders in the church will speak the truth in spite of the opposition.