1 Thessalonians 2: Purpose of Missionaries to Converts
Chapter two of 1 Thessalonians is one of my favorite chapters. As a Missionary serving in Honduras I found this chapter to ring true. I have included the entire chapter below with my commentary.
“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2: 1-4)
As a young Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I found that we would speak to all sorts of different people. Our message was simple; Jesus Christ lives! He Restored His Gospel and His Church on the earth. Today we have modern prophets that act as His mouthpiece. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can all be saved and one day return to live with our Heavenly Father. I found that although our message was simple, many people liked to speak harsh words and contend with us. But one thing was for sure is that we did not come to please the ears of men, but rather God. Our message was taught through the Holy Ghost and not through our words. Our words were just that, words. No one was ever converted by our words, but rather how they felt about our words.
“ For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. “1 Thessalonians 2: 5-9)
As a Missionary, never did I want to trick someone into believing something. Either you believed or you did not, either way I loved everyone I came into contact with. Those who converted and found Jesus Christ, I rejoiced with them. Because as Paul puts it, they were dear unto us.
“ Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judæa are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” (1 Thessalonians 2:10-16)
As representatives of Jesus Christ and His Church, were acted holy, just and unblameably before those who believed on Him. When the people listened to us, they heard God speak, not men. As a Missionary we are instruments in God’s hands and as such those who heard our words, heard them as the truth.
“ But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20)
I understand Paul greatly when he is saddened at not being able to be with those converts he so loved! When I left Honduras I was sad, and I desire to return and spend time with second family in Honduras. As a Missionary or Servant of the Lord, the greatest joy you can have is in those people you brought unto the presence of God!