Obtained Glory…Only by Faith
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
– 2 Thessalonians 3:1-12 [ESV]
One of the most impactful elements of our leadership training occurs at the end of the teaching immersion. Team leaders stand in front of the group and invite people to come forward to let us pray for them. One couple came forward and confessed that they urgently needed help in their marriage. Another couple came to us and asked for prayers of thanksgiving for the growth they had experienced, and for wisdom to put into practice what they had learned. Others have come simply asking for strength to carry on in their ministry. Diane and I have had the privilege of praying for pastors and their wives in many different contexts. We’ve also been blessed by others praying for us over the years.
When Paul asks for prayers I get it. I understand how much we need God if we are to remain faithful and be effective in advancing the gospel message. God uses people to further his kingdom. He brings the message of his grace to new people by his people’s efforts. It is all God’s work. But God works most often through people. On occasion he may break in directly. That was true in the initial encounter of Saul on the road to Damascus. But even then he utilized Ananias to bring Saul to faith.
I have a special place in my heart for the pastors of my church. They carry a burden that no one knows until you experience it yourself. They have challenges you may know of, and some you are not aware of. Sometimes they struggle with discouragement, need physical strength to carry on, or yearn for a sign that they are on the right track. Sometimes the reminder that they are not alone in their efforts for the sake of the kingdom of God can be all they need to keep on the path of faithfulness.
We often call on our pastors and church leaders to pray for us. That is good and proper. Today, I urge you to pray for your pastor. Maybe also send him a note, telling him that you thank God for him and have him in your heart and prayers today. He needs those prayers. You’ll bless him by doing that.