(From Dave Black Online, Sunday, February 25, 2018)
3:36 PM Hey, here’s something to think about from 1 Thess. 2:17-20 (our passage for this week in Greek 4). The word usually translated as “crown” is a metaphor drawn from the Greek athletic contests.
It “alludes to the wreath which was awarded to the victor in an athletic contest: victory in such a contest afforded the victor and all associated with him ample grounds for … (‘boasting’)” (Bruce, p. 56).
Paul “looks forward to the occasion of final review and reward, when he will present his converts to the Lord who commissioned him, as evidence of the manner in which he has discharged his commission.”
Have you ever thought of the people you influenced for Christ as a “wreath of victory” in whom you could rejoice? It’s astonishing to me that Paul actually considered people as his reward. He’s so utterly identified with his converts that he calls them his glory. I can well imagine Rudy Ulrich sitting in heaven wearing the wreath of Dave Black, whom he led to the Savior in 1960. We are the body of Christ. God uses us to reach others with His love. The good news is that He uses us in spite of ourselves. Truth is, there are some people who will never hear about Jesus unless I tell them. All that we touch, everything we bump up against in our lives, is to be offered to Him for the work of salvation. God calls us, pleads with us, to be involved. Our world is starved to see Christ’s love modeled somewhere. All we need is a willingness for whatever. Paul was always moving “with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead” (phil. 3:14). But he did that with open hands — a total stripping from all this world has to offer. The Thessalonian believers were living proof that Paul had done just that. May God show us every thread of self that still needs stripping away.