And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
1 Thessalonians 2:13
Paul details the process of evangelism and church building by telling the story of the Thessalonian church. He describes the hard work of his apostolic ministry among them. They responded to the gospel as Paul and his team shared it in tender relationship with them. Paul spends quite a bit of time explaining why the close relationship was necessary. There is a tremendous tenderness expressed in the gospel ministry that is very compelling.
And in the end, conversion happened and a church was born, not because of the word of just a human being. Their lives were changed by the power of the gospel which the Thessalonians accepted as the Word of God. In ministry humans do the caring labor, but it is the Word of God that brings the powerful changes. Paul rejoiced that these people believed that message for what it really was, the Word of God. And that is what is really at work in them.
I have the privilege of being able to identify with the process that Paul details here. My vocation is the exercise of tender, faithful ministry. And there is great joy in that experience. It is hard work to have that call to the tender care of believers. And it is often a tough calling to be faithful in proclaiming and teaching the gospel of God. But when God does His work with His Word... watch out! Lives are changed. It is a powerful and personally exciting experience. Nothing can compare to the work that God's Word does in believers.
Thank You, Lord, that Your Word works in Your people. And thank You, Lord, that when we are faithful to obey it, great changes are made in our lives as Your glory is demonstrated. Help us to be believers who let Your Word live in us for Your great glory!