In the first half of Acts 17 we read of Paul’s visit to Thessalonica. He spent a relatively short time there, but long enough to preach the gospel effectively to see the beginnings of a small church. Paul’s presence angered the Jews, and they tried to capture Paul…
But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd (Acts 17:5).
The new Thessalonian converts helped Paul and Silas escape by nightfall to Berea which was 50 miles southwest of Thessalonica. But the persecution did not end after Paul and Silas left. The Thessalonians continued to endure hardship as a church, and Paul was anxious…worried they might fall away from the faith. So he sent Timothy to visit them (1 Thess. 3:5), and to Paul’s joy, Timothy reported back that they were steadfast in the faith (1 Thess. 3:6; 8).
What would enable these new converts to stay faithful amidst harsh affliction?
Christ. Christ’s love. Christ’s sacrifice. Christ’s promises. Christ, alone.
The writer of Ecclesiastes knew that life lived apart from the eternal purposes of God was meaningless. This world is fallen and to work for possessions that will only endure one’s lifetime is vanity. It lacks purpose.
The fact that the Sovereign and Righteous God has made a way for us to be in relationship with him now and throughout eternity gives our lives meaning in this fallen world. Each small pleasure is a gift of God, and therefore, more meaningful. Suffering can be endured because of our hope in an eternal home. We can take joy in the work of our hands because a job done for the Lord brings glory to him and makes an impact for eternity.
God’s love is our song and His word is our guide. In Him, we find our purpose!