“No matter how high the profession, he whose heart is not filled with love for God and his fellow men is not a true disciple of Christ. . . . He might display great liberality; but should he, from some other motive than genuine love, bestow all his goods to feed the poor, the act would not commend him to the favor of God.”-Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 318, 319.
“While Paul was careful to set before his converts the plain teaching of Scripture regarding the proper support of the work of God, . . . at various times during his ministry in the great centers of civilization, he wrought at a handicraft for his own maintenance. . . .
“But Paul did not regard as lost the time thus spent. . . . He gave his fellow workers instruction in spiritual things, and he also set an example of industry and thoroughness. He was a quick, skillful worker, diligent in business, ‘fervent in spirit, serving the Lord’ (Rom. 12:11).”-Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, pp. 234-236.
- Think about a painful time that you have endured (physically, spiritually, emotionally, or some mixture of them all). In practical terms, how does someone find joy or courage in the midst of such suffering? Why is finding that joy and courage so much easier said than done?
- Think about someone whose life clearly did not reflect the claims to be a Christian. How did that person impact your own walk with the Lord?
- What are the pitfalls in becoming emotionally attached to people with whom you are sharing the gospel? How does one set appropriate boundaries for the relationships that develop whenever you work closely with other people?
Summary: In this passage Paul opened his heart to reveal the truest motives for ministry. The ultimate motive is to please God, whether or not those we minister to are pleased. Motivations of money, sex, and power have no place in a heart determined to please God. The next most important motive for ministry is heartfelt love for the lost. Both of these motives are clearly expressed in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12.