Plight of the Crawdads

Always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

When my cousin invited me to join him to fish for crawdads (crayfish), I couldn’t help but be excited. I grinned when he handed me a plastic pail. “No lid?”

“You won’t need one,” he said, picking up the fishing rods and the small bag of chicken chunks we’d use for bait.

Later, as I watched the small crustaceans climbing over one another in a futile attempt to escape the almost-full bucket, I realized why we wouldn’t need a lid. Whenever one crawdad reached the rim, the others would pull it back down.

The plight of the crawdads reminds me how destructive it is to be selfishly concerned about our own gain instead of the benefit of a whole community. Paul understood the need for uplifting, interdependent relationships when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica. He urged them to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak,” and “be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Commending their caring community (v. 11), Paul spurred them toward even more loving and peaceful relationships (vv. 13–15). By striving to create a culture of forgiveness, kindness, and compassion, their relationships with God and others would be strengthened (vv. 15, 23).

The church can grow and witness for Christ through this kind of loving unity. When believers honor God, committing to lift others up instead of pulling them down with words or actions, we and our communities thrive.

INSIGHT

The book of 1 Thessalonians was written by the apostle Paul to the young church in Thessalonica, a Roman colony. Thessalonica was the largest and most important city in Macedonia and the province’s capital. Because of its fine harbor, central location, and access to many roads, the city enjoyed flourishing trade. First Thessalonians was probably one of Paul’s first letters, written around ad 51 or 52 from Corinth. Only two or three years earlier, Paul, accompanied by Silas, had visited Thessalonica during his second missionary journey and established the church there. According to Acts 17:1–4, Paul taught there for just “three Sabbaths” before opposition forced him to flee the city. But during that short time some Jews as well as many God-fearing Greeks and prominent women “were persuaded” to follow Jesus. Paul penned this letter to encourage the new believers in their faith and to assure them of Christ’s return.

Alyson Kieda

By | 2019-01-11T16:09:31+00:00 January 13th, 2019|