1 Thessalonians 2:17–3:5 (ESV)
Paul’s Longing to See Them Again
17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because
we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For
you are our glory and joy.
3 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind
at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions.
For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5 For
this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
Paul is interested
in the well-being of the Thessalonians, whether they stand firm in the Gospel or yield due to pressure from the opponents. When Paul can no more bear the lack of news, he decides to send Timothy, his co-worker and helper. Pastors and leaders in God’s
Church need to follow up on their members in the same way. They should take practical steps to know how they are. The Lord seeks and wants to save and strengthen us through His servants, even in the midst of our problems. We are the apple of His eye.
I pray: Lord, give us Your loving heart, so that we may sincerely follow and care for the flock You have put under our care. Lord, help us pass through the various sufferings that
will come our way as we follow You. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2054.