Today’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 1.
Our small group leader and Bible Journal writer, David LaFrance, is currently leading our group through the “Life As We Know It” booklet published by Spread Truth Ministries. The booklet is an exercise where each person writes about their beginning, obstacles, hope, and future. It’s really neat to hear each person’s story and how their story fits into God’s story. One of the things that stuck out to me in writing my personal story was the impact others have had on my life, especially my family and older mentors in the beginning stage.
A few years ago, I read The Resolution for Men which I really feel is a must read for all men (there is also a version for women). One topic the book discussed was that many of us many come from a background where our parents and family have a generational history of addiction, abuse, shunning God or other bad habits, but it just takes one person to be a “chain breaker” to set future generations on the right path to follow God and his will for our lives. Someone must step up. Paul discusses in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 how the Thessalonians became “imitators.” Who is a “chain breaker” or another mentor who’s impacted you that your should give thanks to God for as Paul does in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3?
As I reflect on this question, I’m extremely grateful for both of my grandfathers who were “chain breakers.” My grandfather on my mom’s side was one of six kids. His dad left him and his siblings at a young age and to our knowledge they did not attend church growing up. He became one of the kindest, gentlest men I’ve ever known and was an amazing father and husband. He established a foundation in his family rooted in faith and the Word who would attend church not once, but three times per week. As a side note, I’ve always wondered and would like to thank the person who invited him to church or asked him if he had a relationship with Jesus. My grandfather on my Dad’s side had a father who was only really present in the physical form. He was abusive and left my grandfather to work for even his basic needs as a young boy after my great grandmother passed, despite having the financial resources. My grandfather essentially raised himself, obtained his degree, and was a great husband and father who raised my dad and uncle in a Christian household. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention my grandmothers who deserve a lot of credit for not only helping them get on the right path, but who were also strong in faith and a spiritual rock for their spouses and my parents growing up. Behind every great man is a great woman.
Because of their choices to be great husbands, fathers, wives, and mothers rooted in a foundation of faith in God, my mom and dad chose to follow their example and do the same for my brother and me. For that, I’m extremely grateful to them and our parents. I pray that my niece and nephews and Shannon and my children will stay close to God and continue this relationship with Jesus in their lives and their kids’ lives impacting generations to come.
Let us only thank those who have helped us, but let us not forget that there will be “imitators” of us which Paul mentions in 1 Thessalonians 1:6. These “imitators” may not only be our family as I have discussed, but also could be neighbors, co-workers, or others we mentor by design or default. We must ask ourselves if we are being a good example in our daily lives, and are we inviting them to have a relationship with Jesus? It will not only impact their lives, but also the lives of their friends and family for generations to come!
“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere…..” 1 Thessalonians 1:8