“So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” KJV
I love the KJV translation of this verse. Paul and his men were willing to share not only the gospel of God, not only their lives, but also their very souls. Just above in verse 7 the concern for the people of Thessalonica is desribed as that of a mother nursing her children. The fullness of a mother’s love involves self sacrifice on a deep and instinctual level. And this is exactly the kind of care and concern desribed here. The power of Jesus fueled this affectionate desire to provide a covering for the people of this church like an eagle protecting her eaglets.
It is rare to know someone who would literally lay their own soul down for your sake. Yet I feel called to know this deeper level of concern and care. When I have tasted self sacrifice in small ways of hospitality, I know there is so much more. I know I have only scratched the surface. And yet the joy that rises in giving of myself is pure and wonderful. To be honest, my own pride and self protecting defenses rise higher than self sacrifices much of the time. Life goes too fast and I ride the currents without realizing I am being swept away. I long for a community of deep and heart level connections these days. Yes, I have friends, some go there to the depths. But this connection is broken up with the media saturation that surrounds our new normal. Netflixing episodes steal hours, a quick glance at Facebook turns into half an hour down the wormhole. Conversations with people I care about are in the form of likes and comments from my devices. No, not the worst thing. But less than awesome life being lived with real people. Real hearts. Livng soul to soul. Yes, I want more of that.
Father God, I am so grateful to live in this world at this very moment. So much technology that reflects You in the minds and creativity of Your people. Help me to not get swept away by these creations of the people, but rather be engulfed in You, the Creator of all things. When I feel face to face connection is lacking, may I be the one to reach out instead of feeling sad about the loss. May I be the one to invite a friend over for dinner. May I be the one to pursue deeper friendships. Help me to follow Your lead in relationships. Give me the wisdom and heart to step in to other people’s stories and show kindness and care. Let there be more lived out in my life with people face to face. In Jesus’ name, amen.