A Longing Fulfilled Brings Joy


I want to relate an experience yesterday with the text for today where the Apostle Paul shared another experience with joy. Yesterday, we had the first of several Saturday School sessions. There was mutual exchange that resulted in joy of the cause being served. One student, whom I have recently had to address about his behavior and effort, said to me “Mr. Franklin, I love Saturday School. I wish  I could just come to Saturday School and not regular school.” A number of teachers expressed how they were re-energized by the experience. Students were not resistant to instruction. The students were willingly engaged and responded freely with one another and teacher. One teacher said, “this is what school should be like; Oh, how I wish it could be like this every day.”

For the most part, a teacher is like a missionary. Most teachers are committed to a greater good for the masses. They give themselves sacrificially to those whom they serve with the hope that their efforts will make objects of their service better. They seek to share a good message and have those whom they share with to follow the message for their good. Teacher long to see students experience success in a variety of ways. Ultimately, like a missionary, his work is a work of faith where one does not always see the end product or fruit of his labor. Proverbs 13:12 captures this sentiment. It says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” The Reformed Study Bible interpret this as frustration as common human experience; frustrated expectations cause a loss of morale and a sense of hopelessness. This does not imply that instant gratification is good, but rather that we should honestly strive for desirable goals in life.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:8-10, we see this principle expressed. Paul’s joy, like the teachers, is in that the Thessalonians, the students if you will, are living out what he taught them. The lesson was internalized and transferred to real life as the Thessalonians applied the content to their lives.

For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

Years after Paul had shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Thessalonians, Timothy shares the news with him that the Thessalonians are still following Jesus. Timothy conveyed that they were steadfast in the faith; that they were not shaken in mind, nor had they turned aside form the profession of the gospel and pursuit of Jesus. The Thessalonians treasured not only the gospel, but him who shared it with them. We see that in their great desire to see Paul again and for Paul to share a spiritual gift with them. Paul, in verse 10, has that same longing.

Their adherence to the gospel is the source of Paul’s joy just as the student’s willingness to learn was the source of joy for the teachers yesterday. Listen to what Paul says: For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? It was their persistence in the faith that fueled Paul’s joy. We see in the Thessalonians that A Longing Fulfilled Brings Joy.

To whom are we giving ourselves to commit to the charge to make disciples? Those are the ones whom our greatest joy will arise. Pray for your Pastors as this is their primary work for the Father. Pray for missionaries as this is their primary service for the gospel. I hope you see yourself as a missionary as we have been called ministers of the gospel too. We all should desire to experience when A Longing Fulfilled Brings Joy. Pray for teachers, whom may not be sharing the gospel, because their work too is a work of faith.

 

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