The apostle Paul introduces us to his fond remembrance of a faithful church in a trying time. Specifically, he offered thanksgiving for their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope:
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father. (I Thessalonians 1:2-3, NKJV)
– His was thanksgiving for a work of faith with power. This work is empowered by God alone and by His good grace (II Thessalonians 1:11-12).
– His was thanksgiving for a labor of love. This is faith-based, active love for people, also known as charity. In I Corinthians 13:4-8, Paul wrote about this kind of love: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (NKJV)
– And his was thanksgiving for patience of hope. This means to persevere and endure all things for the hope we have in Christ, and to do it cheerfully and consistently. We can sum it up this way: Holy Resolve. Nothing can and nothing should rob us of the joy we have in Christ. In the face of a hard and sometimes cruel world, holy resolve undergirds our Christian living and moves us closer to the Throne.
Like Paul, we should never cease remembering those things upon which Christian character is built: faith in God, love for His work, and hope in His coming. These are matters for THANKSGIVING, especially during the time of year when we offer thanks to a great God for a great nation.