Forest Lake Talks

December 17 Advent Devotional

December 17, 2019

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Be patient with everyone.  Yeah, this one stings especially for me.  I’m reminded of Christmases past of waiting until the last minute to go and purchase gifts for my loved ones.  I’ve never been one to do this before Thanksgiving or Black Friday or even two weeks before Christmas.  Before the days of online shopping, this procrastination got me in the thick of holiday shopping with all the others that waited the same amount of time as me.  Hence, this procrastination resulted in long lines, traffic jams, people frazzled because they were in a hurry, items no longer available, the list goes on.  Maybe if I were more patient, none of these struggles would bother me and I would love the idea of Christmas shopping amongst the countless numbers of others doing the same.  Thankfully, Amazon has delivered me from this stress!

Be patient with everyone.  I’m guessing I’m not the only one who may struggle with this.  I’ll admit that I’m not the most patient person when it comes to many things.  Most of it is because I like to do things my way and feel like I’m right in most situations.  Sound familiar?  My loving and beautiful wife has helped me recognize that I struggle with this and to her credit, has given me different ways to look at and think about situations that I find myself.  Truthfully, she makes me realize that I’m simply being selfish. This is embarrassing but you know what, she’s right.  She’s made me realize that other’s opinions matter and that for me to succeed in anything, I need to consider everyone’s feelings, not just my own.  I’ve learned that I need to practice patience in so many areas of my life – my marriage, fatherhood, business, prayers – the list goes on.  This passage makes me realize that God calls me to be a patient person so that I may be a blessing to others.  Maybe if I’m not so focused on my agenda and what I feel needs to be done right away, I might be able to do something amazing for someone else.  Sometimes a little dose of truth serum is what we need from time to time.

In Paul’s message here, he is calling on the Thessalonian Christians to assist weaker believers to trust the Lord in every situation.  It’s easy to give up on the idle, the fainthearted and the weak, so Paul asks his readers to exercise patience with them all.  Granted, God has bestowed upon some believers the gifts of service, exhortation, and showing mercy, but every believer should minister with love and patience on behalf of the idle, the fainthearted and the weak among them.  Galatians 6:1 instructs those who are spiritual to restore a fellow believer who is “caught in any transgression” but do so gently and humbly.  Galatians 6:2 instructs believers to bear one another’s burdens. 

I think this verse rings true this time of year, but we should embrace it all year.  I’m thankful that FLPC is a church that abides by Paul’s words.  I’m thankful that we encourage the disheartened and help the weak both in our congregation and community.  I’m thankful for all the many wonderful opportunities that we have been able to share our love for each other and those right here in our community.  And I’m thankful that we can show patience with those that we may disagree but realize that our greater calling is to love our brothers and sisters no matter what.  Thanks be to God!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to be more patient.  Help me to listen to others before myself.  Help me to hear the needs of others and let me encourage and give to those who are struggling.

Submitted by: Ward Warren

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