Paul is encouraging the church in Thessaloniki to stay of good courage and keep the faith. He encourages them to love and care for one another, just as they have been doing. He says do not stop no matter what is thrown your way, saying "encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing." He uses words like esteem, and respect, and peace, and patience. He says pray and rejoice and give thanks in all circumstances.
As we move forward into planning for a new church year, it occurs to me that this scripture is a great foundational tool to refer to going forward. We have to continue to build on the foundation of care and trust and esteem and respect that we already have for one another as we seek to be a community that lives into the UMC mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Therefore, we need to hold ourselves true to the promises we have made to each other to uphold the church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. When we hold each other up in respect and create a place of peace and goodness here by praying for one another, tithing what we are able to financially, showing up on Sundays regularly and working hard for the benefit of our community both inside and outside the walls on other days, we are showing God that the sacrifices of all who came before us matter. That the church of the future matters.
This year how can we build each other up in all ways so that we might build a future for this church and the community surrounding us?