1 Thessalonians 2:9-12
For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable to any of you…
As time indicated on the dial answers to the perfect mechanism of the watch, so the personal example of the preacher must answer to the words he utters. The most accomplished elocution, the most captivating style, will be fruitless unless backed with the strength of a complete, beautiful, spiritual character. Their moral consistency seen —
I. IN THE UNSELFISH PRINCIPLE THAT GOVERNED THEM IN THEIR WORK (ver. 2). The apostle invariably asserted the right of ministerial maintenance. In another place he affirms that, not merely naked equity and the spirit of the Mosaic law, but also a positive ordinance of Christ requires this. In this early stage of the work, the apostle waived this claim. It might be on account of the poverty of the converts, or on account of the calumnious charge of covetousness. To crush all suspicion of interested motives, these noble missionaries refused "to be chargeable unto any one of them," depending for their support upon the remittances of the Philippians, and on their own labour. Thus did they evidence their supreme desire to be, not gain, but the proclamation of the gospel; an example which has its counterpart in the brave, devoted, self-denying labours of many a modern missionary.
II. IN THE MAINTENANCE OF A BLAMELESS DEPORTMENT (ver. 10). A Roman prince of the celebrated house of Colonna, whose virtues had sustained him alike in prosperous and adverse times, was once driven into exile, and when reduced to extremity he was asked, "Where is now your fortress?" He laid his hand upon his heart, and answered, "Here!" A conscious sense of integrity threw a strength and majesty around him in his sufferings. An inward consciousness of purity prompted these workers to appeal to those who were best acquainted with them. They behaved holily toward God, justly toward men, and unblameably in every regard. "Among you that believe." Believers could best understand the secret of their whole life, its aims and motives, its tendencies and issues; and on them it would have an irresistible impression. It is often the fate of the public teacher, while blameless, to be unmercifully blamed by those who are outside the circle of his work. The world retains all its historic enmity to the truth, and is as venomous as ever in its expression.
III. IN THEIR ENDEAVOURS TO STIMULATE THEIR CONVERTS TO THE HIGHEST ATTAINMENTS (vers. 11, 12). Observe —
1. The lofty standard set, up. "That ye would walk worthy of God." How sublime and dignified the Christian character may become — to walk worthily of God! in harmony with His nature, His law — with our profession of attachment to Him. To the production of this grand result all their efforts were bent. "As a father doth his children," so they "exhorted" with all earnestness, "comforted" with all loving sympathy, and "charged with all fidelity and authority." The preacher must be master of every art necessary to success.
2. The motive to reach the standard. "Who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory" — His own glorious kingdom. We are invited to enter this kingdom on earth, and participate in its blessings; but the full splendours of that kingdom are reserved for the heavenly world. How brief and insignificant will the sufferings and sorrows of the present appear, contrasted with the ineffable bliss of the future state! "Do you want anything?" eagerly asked the loved ones who surrounded the dying couch of Melancthon. "Nothing but heaven," was the gentle response, and he went smiling on his way.Lessons
1. That in order to success in preaching, moral consistency of life must accompany and sustain the faithful declaration of the truth.
2. That the greatest success is achieved when the highest experience of the Christian life is constantly enforced by both precept and example.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.