Advent Week 2: Peace
1 Thessalonians 5. 12-14, NRSV
But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them.
As a young minister, I thought that attending EVERY event that occurred around our church during the Christmas season was required. One week before Christmas, we attended four worship services, eight Sunday School class parties, two Mall singings, and a partridge in a pear tree! I was exhausted by the time Christmas week arrived.
Thankfully, as I have matured, I’ve learned that my attendance is not required. However, there are still plenty of activities that require the presence and leadership of your church staff. Being “in the spotlight” is draining and may rob them of the joy of the Season. Your church staff needs to know that you care for them and about them.
Pause right now and pray for each of them by name. Pray that that they will be wise enough to know where they should participate. Pray that the joy of the Manger will be in them this Advent Season.
The second part of this challenge from Paul is to care for one another. There is nothing better than “peace” among the fellowship. We arrive at peace by encouraging one another, gently holding one another accountable, helping one another, and being patient with one another. These actions only happen as we build upon the foundation of prayer. So, we come to peace with one another as we pray for one another and as we care for one another.
Pause right now and pray for three church members. Pray that they will become wise in their leadership. Pray that you will be patient with them as they lead. Pray that the joy of the Manger will be in them this Advent Season.
There is no better time than Advent to practice praying for your church staff and praying for one another. And as you pray, there is peace! Peace, this is such a grand aspiration. And, peace can be realized as we spend as much time in prayer this season as we spend in the Mall. Peace can be realized this season as we spend as much time BEING the church as going to the church.
Now pause once more. Slow down. Breathe. Enjoy the glory of Advent. And receive the joy of the Manger into your own life this Advent Season.
Prayer: Holy God, forgive us for making busyness an idol in our lives. Forgive us when we spend more time praying ABOUT our church leaders than praying FOR them. Forgive us when we are more concerned with the shortcomings of those around us and less concerned with encouraging one another. Help us to receive the baby of Bethlehem into our hearts and lives. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and bring us Peace on Earth, now and forever. Amen.
Bo Prosser is Coordinator of Organization Relationships for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship National.