Most of us have likely thought about how others will remember us after we leave this earth. Many in the world have the desire to be remembered for having fun and living life to the fullest. As Christians, hopefully we have a different set of things by which we hope to be remembered. What if others remembering us wasn’t just something that came post-mortem however?
In the introduction to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he said, “we give thanks to God always for all of you,” and twice he mentions what he and others remember about them (1:2-3). This remembrance is something that is ongoing, something which is taking place while they are still alive. Paul gives no less than ten areas worth remembering about these Christians.
First is their “work of faith” (1:3). Hard times come and remaining faithful can take work. In addition, as James tells us, true faith produces work.
Second is their “labor of love” (1:3). Putting others first takes effort and does not come easy.
Third is their “steadfastness of hope” (1:3). Despite sufferings and persecution, they never lost hope of eternal resurrection with Christ.
Fourth Paul says they became “imitators” of he, the other apostles, and most importantly of Christ (1:6).
Fifth is how they “received the word” with joy, despite all the affliction it brought (1:6). How do we receive the word?
Sixth is how they “became an example to all believers” (1:7). Is our example worth remembering and emulating?
Seventh is their evangelistic efforts which caused the “word of the Lord” to be “sounded forth,” and in “every place” their faith toward God had gone forth (1:8).
Eighth is the “reception” they gave Paul and the others (1:9). How do we receive others who visit our church?
Ninth is how they “turned to God from idols” (1:9). They completely left those vain idols behind. Have we put behind us that which is ungodly and turned wholly to God?
Tenth is their service to God. They didn’t just come to have faith in God, but to serve him, to give Him their lives.
Paul thanked God always for these Christians, and constantly remembered these aspects and efforts about them. Individually and collectively as the church, is our conduct worth remembering? How do others remember us?