Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. 1 Thessalonians 2:7–8
Juanita told her nephew about growing up during the Great Depression. Her poor family only had apples to eat, plus whatever wild game her dad might provide. Whenever he bagged a squirrel for dinner, her mom would say, “Give me that squirrel head. That’s all I want to eat. It’s the best piece of meat.” Years later Juanita realized there wasn’t any meat on a squirrel’s head. Her mom didn’t eat it. She only pretended it was a delicacy “so us kids could get more to eat and we wouldn’t worry about her.”
As we celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow, may we also recount stories of our mothers’ devotion. We thank God for them and strive to love more like them.
Paul served the Thessalonian church “as a nursing mother cares for her children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). He loved fiercely, fighting through “strong opposition” to tell them about Jesus and to share his own life with them (vv. 2, 8). He “worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while [he] preached the gospel of God to [them]” (v. 9). Just like Mom.
Few can resist a mother’s love, and Paul modestly said his efforts were “not without results” (v. 1). We can’t control how others respond, but we can choose to show up, day after day, to serve them in a sacrificial way. Mom would be proud, and so will our heavenly Father.
Who has loved you sacrificially? Who are you loving as your heavenly Father loves you?
Father, no one could love me more than You.
First Thessalonians was most likely the earliest of Paul’s letters, written about ad 50 to the church formed in Thessalonica during Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 17). In response to a mob protesting Paul and Silas’ claim that Jesus—not Caesar—is the true king (v. 7), Paul and Silas were forced to leave the city to protect the church from being persecuted. Leaving the young faith community was so painful that Paul describes his separation as being “orphaned . . . for a short time” (1 Thessalonians 2:17). Later, Timothy was sent to minister to the community of new believers there (3:1–5). After hearing Timothy’s good report of their faith growing and thriving (v. 6), Paul reconnected with and encouraged the Thessalonian believers through this letter.