Well, I am in India. The temperature is in the low 30s Celsius. But the news from home has been that British Columbia’s lower mainland has been hit with record snowfall. I know, I know, all you who are from Manitoba are chuckling. After all the greater Vancouver gloating that we grow flowers in mid February, it must seem wonderful to watch those from the west coast with a shovel in hand, trying to get out of their driveways.
But hearing from home, making sure that everyone is safe and seeing the pictures has got me thinking. It is quite easy to get into a great deal of trouble while driving in the wet, icy snow of B.C.’s lower mainland. Once a car slides off the road into a snow bank, all the spinning of the wheels in the world will not propel that vehicle forward.
I have been reading 1 Thessalonians 2:1. “For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.” Paul’s great effort in Thessalonica was not a matter of effort without result. Indeed, as one reads through the first eight verses of chapter 2, Paul identifies three primary reasons why he was not spinning his wheels. In verse 3, he says that he and his missionary team had boldness in God. He mentions this because he had arrived in Thessalonica after his stay in Philippi, which had resulted in a citywide riot, along with beatings and imprisonment. But Paul continued to be confident in the meticulous sovereignty of his God. He never entertained the doubt that God was in control.
The second reason Paul gives is found in verse 6. “Nor did we seek glory from people.” Paul was confident enough in his God not to have a constant need to be well spoken of by his opponents. Indeed, it was not his desire that men speak well of him. Rather, he wanted with all his heart that what he did was pleasing to the One who had called him.
And finally, Paul knew he was not spinning his wheels because, according to verses 7-8, he had acted with the best interest of the church in mind. Listen to how he describes his activities in verse 8: “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” There is a world of difference between a people pleaser, and one who acts out of love for people. Paul had become the latter.
But let me get back to my illustration of spinning wheels. There are a great many people whose entire lives are spent in spinning wheels. I mean that there is much activity, but there are no eternal results. People praise them here, but God is not pleased with them. They do things to be recognized by others, but not to bring benefit to the hurting, the broken and the one who has lost his or her way. Their lives are spent around seeking recognition, but not the praise of God. And above all, they lack a vision of God that is so great; it inspires them with confidence.
What a shame to spend a lifetime spinning wheels. Don’t be one of those people. Learn from men like Paul, and invest your life into that which is eternal.