God is Witness

                God is Witness

 (1 Thessalonians 2:1-13)

St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, who have “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” about how he approaches preaching the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). He explicitly writes that his preaching did not come from a place of “error or uncleanness or deceit” (vs. 3) but from above. He continues to write that while preaching he did not “seek glory from men” (vs. 6).

Many of us might think initially that this is a passage that does not apply to us because we don’t “preach”. Many of us might think that preaching is reserved to only those that are ordained. How we act in the world speaks much about the God that we know. How do we treat the poor? What do we think about the poor and what he or she deserves? With what mind do we think of those that have hurt us in the past? How often do we seek revenge? How do we respond to our apathy? How do we respond when circumstance don’t go our way? How do we treat our parents and our family members? To what extent do we love those who care about us? What are our minds filled with throughout the day? What do we desire? What hurts us? As the common saying goes, we may be the only Gospel that one encounters in his or her life.

The words St. Paul writes can be applicable to each of us as he asks us to look at our motives and remember that “God is witness” (vs. 5). Despite the expectation others or ourselves place on us within our community, family, friends, or wherever else, the most important question is to turn to our Creator and ask ”what is it that You expect from me?” With what intention do we express our faith? Is it with the error or uncleanness or deceit or to seek glory from men, as St. Paul says? Is it so that others know “how Christian we are?” In all that we say and do, we must remember that it is our God that created us that knows our hearts and intentions better than all men. Solomon prays in 1 Kings 8:37 “for You alone know the hearts of all the children of men.” In the same way He knows our deepest desires, He is also aware of our intention and motives despite our unwillingness to admit them. As it is written in 1 Samuel 16:7, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

Questions for Reflection

1) Observe the motives behind your verbal exchanges for a period of time – an hour, half a day, or a full day. What do you notice?

2) Often times it is easy for us to use what St. Paul says in this passage to point our fingers at others and explain how they might fail to follow what is written. What can we do to point that finger back at us? Why should we do so?