12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.I read this and I think, this too is part of the work of the church. This is a big part of what helps us reach out to the world about us.
1. respecting those who work among us ... the elders, the deacons, the ladies who serve our coffee, the pastor, the one who visits the sick, our Sunday School teachers and so forth. Don't take them for granted. Respect them.
2. Those who are lazy..... admonish them. Shame them, encourage them, do what it takes to get them off their lazy bums and get to work for the kingdom!
3. Encourage those who need it. Face it, some of us want to do the work of God, but are half-scared to death to do it. Find a way that works for them that they find an encouragement....does that mean going and praying with them? Or actually lending a helping hand? How can you (I) encourage the faint-hearted among us?
4. Help those who need the help. Quiet frankly some of us can't do it on our own. Consider those who can do part of a job but not all... i.e. someone who can't drive, but is capable of doing dishes at a shelter....can YOU drive them there? Or someone who can read stories to a lonely child.... can you go to the library for them to get some books? What can you do to help the weak?
5. Be patient. Have to admit, patience isn't always my strong suit...really situation dependent. But I am learning to just whole my tongue and wait. :) Let God do the work, let me provide the help that I can. That's all I can do.
6. Be good to each other. Don't repay the bad stuff that happens in life with other bad stuff, that's not the Christian way to do it. But seek to do good to each other. Not always easy. Not always easy to think of the good thing to do. But do it anyways. Just because something is hard to do doesn't make it wrong.
7. Rejoice always! Wow...can you imagine doing that? To rejoice always means that there is always something to praise God for. Seems impossible at times, but do it anyways. :)
8. Pray without ceasing ... ah to have that constant connection to God..that constant KNOWN connection with God. Wouldn't that just make all this stuff easier? It would make it easier to rejoice always, to give thanks always, to help each other and so forth. Just makes it easier.
9. Test everything. Is it from God? If it is, despise it not. Indeed, hold fast to it.
10. God's word says it clearly "abstain from every form of evil". Not sure what that all means to you .... but it does mean this at least...if you know it's wrong... DON'T DO IT! I know that there are some things that are open to interpretation, but if the Holy Spirit convicts you that something is wrong, then just don't go there. Don't even hint at it. Just abstain. :) Clear as a bell isn't it? :)
Good list. Good way to build up the church of God. Good way to show the world what Christians are really made up of. Let's go out and do it shall we?