Advent Reflection: 12/7/12

12/7/12 Charles Warren, (C’15)
Isaiah 3:8-15
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Luke 20:41-21:4

Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one. -1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

For me, verses 9-12 of this passage are some of the most intentional words from the Lord found in the Bible. Paul advises the Thessalonians to continue living in a way pleasing to God as they were instructed, but v. 9-12 really hit home about how actions of faith speak louder than words. “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands....” Paul uses the action of working with one’s hands to illustrate how we must serve the world with our faith.

Writing about my feelings for this passage accomplishes little if I do not attempt to live this out in my own life. As humility is a major theme of the Bible and Jesus’ life, Paul instructs us to win the respect of others through our actions. Through a conscious and continuous effort, we can become eager to act in loving ways towards others every day. Through digging for ways to love each other, we begin to work with our hands and really show people why we live for Christ. Jesus did not parade from town to town on a chariot preaching the high word of God. Instead, he rode on a donkey and walked through the worst of the townspeople performing miracles and giving effort towards loving people. Jesus did work through humility, aiming intentionally to serve God by acted love towards people on earth. Paul calls us to be consistent with our daily life and strive to act out our love towards others. Find a way to love someone extravagantly today.