10/11 1 Thessalonians 2:19

19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?

Paul had only been with the Thessalonians for a short time when he and his team had to leave (Acts 17:1-9). This caused them great concern for the church there. They wanted to return to disciple them in the faith, but Paul wrote that Satan hindered them (1 Thessalonians 2:18). The book of Job teaches us that Satan can only do what God allows (Job 1:11-12). The hindrance may have been so that the Thessalonians would learn to go to God's Word for answers (Acts 17:11).

Paul heard about their faith from other churches he visited. Before he could share about their conversion, others were telling him of the example the Thessalonians had become to other churches. If Paul had such little input, why were they then his crown of boasting before our Lord? Why were they his hope and joy?

Every believer should long to share their faith with others who will eventually surpass them in fruitfulness. Our desire is to have the world know about Jesus. When God works through us as we yield to His Spirit, the results go far beyond what we can imagine. These believers were Paul's "crown of boasting" because they were evidence that they had seen Jesus in his words and life. His life in Christ had borne the fruit of a church that lived out their faith and touched the world with the love of Jesus.

Remember: Fruit comes when we remain in the Vine (John 15:5).