Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 NIV
The first accusation against Paul by the church in Thessalonica was that he was using the people to his own advantage.
- You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed (2:5).
- As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you (2:6).
Paul is talking about money. As an apostle, he could have called on the Thessalonians to support him financially. He didn’t do that. Instead, he says:
- We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children (2:7).
A mother does not charge the kids for what she does!
Paul worked during the day and gave himself to ministry in the evenings: “Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you” (2:9).
Very few people are driven purely by money, but by the comfort and lifestyle that it brings—the freedom to travel, the pleasures you enjoy, the places you eat, the size of your wardrobe, the entertainments you savor, the size and the location of your home.
If comfort is a mark of success, then Paul’s visit was a failure, because the gospel made things distinctly uncomfortable for these new believers.
If you allow comfort to be the measure of your success, you cannot be a follower of Christ. The Gospels tell us about a man who came to Jesus and said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:57-58). In other words, “Following me won’t be comfortable!”
How do your expectations about having a comfortable Christian life square with what Jesus says?