We Need to See People Face to Face

If the last 12 months of global pandemic, social unrest, and blizzards has taught us nothing else in life, it has taught us that we need people. 

Our culture likes to pitch this message that we are independent, we are strong, we can march to the beat of our own drum, we can declare our truth at the expense of others, and it is absolutely foolish.  We need people. 

1 Thessalonians 3:1-3, “1 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it best to be left behind, alone at Athens, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the benefit of your faith, 3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4 For even when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it happened, as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be for nothing.”

In the context of chapter 3 we see the Apostle Paul is deeply discouraged.  Thessalonica comes under attack, Paul is forced out of Thessalonica, you can read about this in Acts 17, and Paul is deeply concerned that the Thessalonians’s faith has wilted from the trails and challenges. 

In verse 1 and verse 5 Paul writes, “When I could endure it no longer” because Paul is metaphorically pacing back and forth, wondering, “How are the Thessalonians doing?”

Therefore, when the Apostle Paul could endure it no longer he sends his faithful friend Timothy to bring strength and encouragement to the Thessalonians.  Do you see that in verse 2?

Timothy was a faithful friend to Paul, and Timothy would have definitely been needed in these other cities with these new churches, but Paul sends Timothy back to the Thessalonians, because we need people.       

One author made the observation that when Paul responds to false teaching in new churches he sends a letter, but when Paul hears about trails and challenges he sends a person.  He sends Timothy.