1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?…
It is natural for men to work for rewards, to have an eye in all their labours to compensation. There is a selfish and a disinterested aim after rewards. The selfish is not only seen in the mere worldling, whose rewards are confined to the present life, but also in the religious professor, who here works, sacrifices, and prays in order to get for himself a blessed heaven at last. The disinterested reference to rewards is peculiar to the genuinely Christian worker, and is exemplified in the text. Notice —
I. THE NATURE OF THE GOOD WHICH HE REGARDED AS A REWARD FOR HIS LABOURS. It was not wealth or enjoyment on earth, nor his own heaven in the future, but the spiritual excellence of those for whom he laboured; their deliverance from moral evil; their restoration to the image of God. He sought nothing higher as a recompense. This was his highest hope — his joy. Nothing thrilled him with a keener delight than to see sin crushed and virtue triumphant. This was his crown of glorying. The pleasure which the victor in the Grecian games felt in the garland he had won was nothing compared to Paul's.
II. THE PERIOD WHEN THIS GOOD WOULD BE MANIFESTED TO HIS ADMIRING EYES. "Are not ye," etc., which implies —
1. His belief in the final advent of Christ. Paul never doubted this, nor did the early disciples. They were not inspired as to its specific time; hence the latter mistook and thought it just at hand.
2. His belief that at that period when he should meet and recognize all his converts, and they would be presented to the Great Head "without spot or wrinkle," filled him with joy.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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?