More Than Just Picking Up Shells On the Beach
1 Thessalonians 3.
Paul has received word of how the church in Thessalonica is doing... and it's pretty good news to hear: how they are living out their Christianity in daily life. They are doing a lot of things well.
He had been with them before and longed to see them again. He is praying for it, in fact.
Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith. - 1 Thessalonians 3:10 (New Living Translation)
Normally, I'm not a fan of the New Living Translation. But, in this case, I think they've made a good choice. The phrase "fill the gaps" comes from katartizō, which means:
to complete thoroughly, that is, repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust: - fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore.
-Strong's Greek Dictionary
Many versions translate it as "supply", in the idea that we supply what is missing. We know that faith is a gift of God and that it is His work*. But, what a noble task that we have - to encourage each other's faith... to speak faith into the blind spots... to rub the balm of the Gospel on those raw places of fear.
Shouldn't that be the goal of every relationship, every conversation?
Shouldn't that be the goal when we sit down for coffee, teach a Sunday school class, have a picnic? Shouldn't that be the goal when we are in the car, in the hospital room, or in the pulpit?
Doesn't this word - this process of katartizō - change how we spend our work hours and our vacation days? Doesn't it mean that walking along the beach picking up shells with a four-year-old is not just making a memory? It's making an eternity.
*Acts 11:21; Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 2:5; Ephesians 2:8; Ephesians 6:23; Philippians 1:29