Joy In Serving
19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 NKJV
Paul is telling us where he finds his joy and it is not from the places we would traditionally think of ourselves. When you think about what it is in life that brings you the greatest joy and satisfaction, what is it that comes to your mind? Probably not the same thing that Paul says brings him the greatest rejoicing.
In context, Paul is talking about how he and those that were with him, ministering to the Thessalonians, found their greatest joy and contentment in that service to others. Perhaps this is not what you and I answered when we thought of what brings us the greatest joy and fulfillment in life. Serving others is what brought Paul and those serving with him their greatest happiness, contentment, and triumph. When you read the verse in the Amplified Bible it even says they were exultant in their service to others.
In the verse above you can see that Paul is explaining what joy they would have as they would eventually stand before the Lord. It was a joy at being in the presence of Jesus, but only a part of the joy at that moment would be the joy they had because those they served here on this earth were with them. It was also being present with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There was glory in this, glory in their service, the glory of Jesus. The Thessalonians represented the fruit of their labors and efforts and all the sacrifices of their service to them as Paul and his friends ministered Jesus and His truth to them.
It is hard for us to imagine this because this is so counter to the norms of our culture and what we are taught every day of our lives. We are taught to think of self and serve self. Rare is the example of serving others and even when the example is offered, we see it as a sacrifice but not a sacrifice that brings joy. The world will never teach you this and cannot understand this truth, you will never feel as satisfied in this life, as contented and fulfilled as when you serve others. You will never experience the overwhelming joy, renewed hope and the triumphs that come only when you sacrifice yourself in the service of others, to the glory of Jesus.
If you are looking for renewed joy, hope, contentment and triumph in your life, follow the example of Paul and gain the rejoicing joy that can only be a result of your serving others.
J Todd Hostetler