So what is it that keeps you up at night? Ok, maybe not literally but what is it that captures your thoughts or imagination? I’m not talking things like work or paying the bills, I’m talking about things that occupy your heart and mind when you have the time and freedom to think about other things. For some it might be that special vehicle they keep washed, waxed and only bring out on special occasions. For others it might be traveling to a certain destination, photography or bargain shopping. For me things like NFL or college football, trout fishing or wandering somewhere in the Rocky Mountains might very well be something that occupies my thoughts on any given day.
Not that there is anything wrong with any of these types of hobbies, but we see in the life of the Apostle Paul a great example of someone with a much higher level of interests. Our reading today in 1 Thess. 3 reminds us of what really mattered to Paul: people. Starting out in verse 1 we read Paul using the phrase, “when we could no longer forbear” to explain how concerned he was about the spiritual warfare of the Thessalonian believers. In other words, when we could take it no longer we sent Timothy to see how you were doing. We later read in verse 6 and 7 that when Timothy came back with good news about their walk with the Lord that they were comforted to the point of even saying in verse 8, “For now we live if you stand fast in the Lord.” Paul was essentially saying that because he learned of their continued walk with the Lord, he was able to go on living.
Continuing further in the same chapter, Paul writes in verse 10, “Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face.” It’s pretty easy to see what Paul was concerned about. He didn’t have hobbies and interests like most of the rest of us do. His hobby was people. He was first concerned about people getting saved. And if those people were saved, he was intimately concerned with how they were doing spiritually. That was what kept him up at night. Not that I’m advocating we drop all our hobbies and interests but may we learn from Paul’s example to have a real interest and concern about the spiritual well-being of people in our lives.