Our Hope, Joy and Crown

crown-iwMatthew 6:19-2019 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Paul took this verse seriously and the Thessalonian church was his treasure that he was storing up.

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

Our hope, our joy, our crown of glory – that is the way to describe the object of your ministry. That is how you describe your labor of love.  That is how you describe those you minister to when you are able to say as Paul did, “We were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

First, who is the object of your ministry? Who are you helping to grow spiritually?  Who are you investing in, spiritually?  Is it children, grandchildren, a Sunday School class, people you work with?  There should be someone.  There should be a spiritual labor of love for you.  Everyone should have a disciple, because that is what Jesus called us to be, disciple-makers.  “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19)

Ok, yes, there is someone you want to invest in, someone you are investing in. How do you view them?  Are they a friend?  Are they a frustration?  Paul called them a hope, a joy and a crown.  I love that.  I dare say that if we considered those that we minister to as a hope, a joy and a crown that we might have a different attitude about serving.  We might take it a little more seriously.  Our commitment level might change.

For Paul it was the Thessalonian church. For us it ought to be our children, grandchildren, our Sunday School class, a coworker, a friend in need.  We must consider these people as our hope, our joy, our crown.  When customers come in the thrift store, they must become our hope, our joy and our crown.  When people walk in our church, they must become our hope, our joy and our crown.

The body of David Livingstone was buried in England where he was born, but his heart was buried in the Africa he loved. At the foot of a tall tree in a small African village the natives dug a hole and placed in it the heart of this man who they loved and respected. If your heart were to be buried in the place you loved most during life, where would it be? In your pocketbook? In an appropriate space down at the office? Where is your heart?

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