How Will You Be Remembered?

I Thessalonians 1: 2, 3

Paul had only spent three weeks with the Thessalonian believers, but they made a lasting impression on him. You are also making an impression. He spoke of three memorable traits regarding them.

Their work of faith. Every person has faith. The issue is “in what?” We either have positive or negative faith. That is, we either have faith in possibilities or impossibilities, in ideas that make us victims rather than masters.

Far from lacking faith, modern persons have a surplus of it. The former dictator of Italy, Mussolini said, “The capacity of modern man to believe is unbelievable.” A person can no more run away from the faith factor than he can run away from his own legs. Persons either have faith in anarchy or democracy, astrology or rabbit’s feet, in materialism or God. Faith is the most potent drug on the market. If a person says he will have no faith then the policy of no faith is what he has faith in. It is expedient to exhort persons to have faith. Everyone has faith. The issue is in what to place it.

Authentic faith results in an absorption with Jesus Christ. Such radical faith transforms our character to be like that of Jesus. Our ambitions, aspirations, and allegiance are completely reoriented according to our faith.

A friend once wrote to the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev: “It seems to me that to put oneself in second place is the whole significance of life.” His reply, “It seems to me to discover what to put before oneself, in the first place, is the whole problem of life.”

Will James, considered by many to be the originator of modern psychology noted, “Every sort of energy and endurance or courage and capacity for handling life’s evils, is set free in those who have religious faith.”

Carl Jung, one of the most important figures in the history of psychology, observed: “Side by side with the decline of religious life, neuroses form noticeably more frequently.”

Their labor of love was remembered.  A sure sign that Christ has come into a heart is that the mind is no longer imprisoned with negative notions, pessimistic precepts, and censorious criticism. Love incites labor. There is a difference between “work” and “labor.” Work may be pleasant and stimulating. The word labor translates “kopos,”stresses fatigue, exertion, and great cost. Where there is no love, there is no labor.

Their patience of hope was remembered.  Christianity produces an indomitable hope. A Christian’s hope is intimately related to Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection shows us God can take the very worst and give His very best.

The famous American cardiologist, Dr. R. McNair Wilson, wrote in “Doctor’s Progress,” “Hope is the medicine I use more than any other…Hope can cure nearly anything.”  Hope is desire plus expectation. Such hope instigates patience. It is aggressive persistence. It isn’t quiet resignation, but rather heroic endurance. Hope lasts. It is made of enduring fiber.

They were remembered because of their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope. By what do you aspire to be remembered?  Daily you are formulating your lasting impression. Elevate your aspiration.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13  

“Faith rests on the past; love works in the present, hope looks to the future. 
Faith looks back to the crucified Christ.
Love looks up to the crowned Christ.
Hope looks on to the coming Christ.”