1 Thessalonians 3:8
This is Paul's ministry heart hanging out on his sleeve for all the world to see. He longed to hear back a report on the Thessalonian church. He wanted to know how they were doing in their Christian maturity. The passion of a disciplemaker is bound up in the progress of those to whom he is called to help toward maturity in Christ. Paul finally sends Timothy on a mission to Thessalonica to find out the status of the young church.
And Paul is thrilled with the report that comes back to him. Timothy brings back news of the church's continued success even in the midst of persecution and difficulty. This is the sort of joyous message that Paul has been hoping to hear. His hopes are realized. His prayers are answered. His hard work is confirmed to him. And rejoicing fills his heart.
And Paul communicated his joy back to the church. He encouraged them by letting them know how much their commitment and growth encouraged his heart. There is a cycle of joyful encouragement going on in this little account that looks something like this: