Picture my garden 2 years ago: dull, a few dried up bushes and plants with wide expanses of dried, stony soil in between, where even the weeds were dying.
Along comes my son who is a gardener! He digs compost into the soil, adds nutrients in the form of powders and liquids. He digs the good stuff in, pulls the weeds out and waters.
Behold, my garden now looks like a picture from RHS Wisley, well almost, thanks Matthew.
This is what happened to the people in Thessalonica. They didn’t move, they’d always lived there but instead of worshipping idols and being bound by rules and regulations, they were now rooted (notice the pun…) in Christ. Christ fed and watered them and now they had a reason to live and they THRIVED and GREW, so that all the towns around noticed.
Paul’s letter to them was part of their nutrition – it helped to spur them on. Yes, they may face hard times ( read summer droughts, British rain, hurricanes, flash floods and harsh frosts, for my garden), ( read being laughed at and persecuted for the Thessalonians ) but God would see them through just as a gardener supports windblown plants with canes and waters the garden in dry times.
God has done the same for us. We’ve grown and are looking as beautiful and strong as the plants and flowers in my garden. We don’t have to move away from our present friendship groups. Draw strength from God’s protection and show how different we have become. He will protect you, and we will pray for you.
Dear God, please make us strong and beautiful with your tender care so that people will notice the difference, just like Matthew’s garden.