here @ Bible Gateway) is the last three clauses in one of Paul’s famously long sentences. This one runs from 1 Thessalonians 1:2 – 5 (here @ Bible Gateway). Three words riveted my attention this time through. The last three in the NASB translation:
“…for your sake.”
That prepositional phrase modifies – well, I have been mentally diagraming the sentence for the past several minutes… It either modifies “proved” or further modifies the phrase “to be among you”. Not sure without spending a lot of time working on the structure.
The point is, Paul was not there for accolades. He wasn’t interested in recognition for his service. He wasn’t looking to gain brownie points from the Lord. He was in Thessalonica for the sake of the Thessalonian people.
They figured that out.
They figured out that they should have the same attitude as the one who brought them the good news of the gospel. So, following Paul’s example, they became an example to the surrounding areas, Macedonia and Achaia.
It wasn’t about Paul when he was engaged in equipping the Thessalonian believers. It wasn’t about them as they shared with their neighbors.
The truth of the gospel, the incredible offer of the absolution, forgiveness of our intentional, consistent rebellion against a holy and loving God; is too valuable to tarnish with a misplaced hunger for recognition for sharing that lifeline to one who is condemned.
Yet it seems there are some who are engaged for their own credit.
Truth be known. I have fought that internal struggle myself. Still do.