Sunday, January 23, 2022

On Serving God

Continuing in my study of 1 Thessalonians 1 ....

In verse 9, Paul says that the Thessalonian believers had "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God." Here's the literal: "you turned to THE God from THE idols to serve a God living and true." Do you think Paul's use of "the" might be significant? If it is, then maybe the idea is, "You turned to the (only) God from the idols (you used to worship and serve) to serve a God who is alive and real." The only other thing that's befuddling me is Paul's use of douleuĊ ("serve as a slave") instead of the more usual word for "serve" -- diakoneĊ. Henricksen's probably correct when he says that he does "not favor the translation to be slaves of. Although that rendering does bring out the idea of complete submission, it clashes with the voluntary and joyful character that is rendered to God." 

What I find is that I am infinitely happier when I go about my day with an attitude of joy and gratitude. I am more content in my roles as a father and grandfather and teacher and friend and runner when I accept  where I am in life and the opportunities God gives me to serve him. I love what Hendricken says about the voluntary and joyful character of our service to God. If the past few years have taught me anything, it's that less can really be more. Loss can become a means of bringing into focus the things in life that really matter. That's how Jesus lived. Jesus could invite others to leave all behind and follow him and know him closer than family because that's exactly what he had done. He knew no greater joy than that of serving others. May we all follow him closely like that.