A simple point attracted our attention as we read the 1 Thessalonians 1&2. What motivated Paul to do things? What motivates us? Today it might be to make money, to create opportunities for enjoyment and excitement – things which centred on ourselves. By contrast Paul makes a simple yet vital point when he writes, “we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God” (2:4).

Let us be conscious that we too, “… please God who tests our hearts”. Paul continues, “for we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with pretext for greed – God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others …” (verses 5,6). The opposite of this is seen in those seeking political positions of high office.

Prayerful reading and meditation of God’s word is the antidote for any inclination to this. Notice how Paul was pleased with the believers at Thessalonica over this, writing, “we also thank God constantly … that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God , which is at work in you believers” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

May that be happening among us, but it will only happen when we constantly read and reflect and act upon what we are reading so that God’s thoughts become part of our way of thinking. We do this “to please God” and, as a result, it becomes true of us also that “the word of God” is “at work in you believers”.