Crowns of Rejoicing

ishot_55Today’s Scripture: “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1 Thess. 2:19)

The New Testament speaks of at least five different types of “crowns” for faithful followers of Jesus.  Over the next few devotional posts, I want us to take a closer look at the verses where we see these crowns made mention of.

To begin with, the Apostle Paul refers to a “crown of rejoicing” in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 which is in reference to the believers themselves.  As he looked back on his ministry, it brought him great joy to see fruit from his labor in preaching the gospel.  Though he had ministered for only a short time in the city of Thessalonica, Paul was excited about what was happening there.  Lives were being transformed by Christ, the gospel was being proclaimed, and the church was growing in leaps and bounds.  According to the book Acts, Paul first came to the city on his second missionary journey.  After having been prevented by the Holy Spirit to preach in Asia, Paul received a vision of a Macedonian begging him to come to that region to preach the gospel.  Doing so, he first came to Philippi where his preaching started a riot.  As a result, he and Silas were arrested and thrown in jail, but were delivered at midnight by the angel of the Lord.  This opened up the way for the gospel to be shared with the jailer who received Christ and was baptized.  Forced to leave Philippi, Paul made his way toward the city of Thessalonica where for three weeks he preached and ministered, “explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead” (Acts 17:3).  Many were persuaded and came to faith in Christ, and thus the Thessalonian church was born.  Nearly a year later, upon hearing of their growth and faithfulness to Christ, Paul wrote to the church to encourage and instruct them.  By referring to them as his “crown of rejoicing,” he is simply saying that it brought great joy to his heart to know that there was some fruit that came from planting the seed of the gospel in Thessalonica.

When it comes to sharing our faith, we must remember that our task is to simply scatter the seed of the gospel.  We must simply be faithful to share Christ with others while trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel to change lives.  Every Christian should desire to possess “crowns of rejoicing,” or the fruit of seeing others come to faith in Jesus as the result of their witness.  Perhaps you have a family member who needs to be saved, or maybe it is a close friend.  Perhaps you work with someone who has not yet received Jesus as Savior.  Share Jesus with them over dinner, or over a phone call, or in casual conversation.  In doing so, simply trust in the power of the Holy Spirit and rely upon the gospel itself to change their life.  You may be just the person that God desires to use to win them to Jesus.

So, let’s pray and trust God together that we will be faithful in sharing Christ with others so that we will receive some “crowns of rejoicing” that we can one day lay at Jesus’ feet!  “Father, open our eyes today to the opportunities that are all around us to share the gospel with our neighbors.  Amen.”

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