2 Thessalonians 2:13–3:5

And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. (3:4)

Wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olive oil, and dates sound
like the ingredients in a salad at our local Mediterranean restaurant.
Most of their menu items are made to order, like the gyros, falafel,
and fatayer (oh my goodness, the fatayer are wonderful). Their
salads, on the other hand, sometimes sit in the display cabinet a little
too long. They can seem a little wilted and past their prime once they
make it to the plate.

The seven components of my imaginary salad are identified in rabbinical codes as seven distinct species required to be presented as first fruits. The first fruits were the portion of each year’s harvest taken to the Temple in Jerusalem and given to God. When writing to his friends in Thessalonica, Paul extends the concept of first fruits to refer to people, declaring that God has chosen the Thessalonians as the first fruits for salvation (2:13).

Paul goes on to ask that they pray for his team, so that they may
spread the gospel rapidly and glorify God. He also asks that they pray
for him to be rescued from wicked and evil people. He sounds like
he’s feeling beat up and neglected, maybe a little past his prime. Yet,
even in his wilted, overripe condition, he expresses confidence in his
friends and confidence in God. May we too be emboldened to have
confidence in our friends and in God, even when we feel wilted and
past our prime.

Consider

What things in life have been wilting you lately? How does your faith in God and the community that surrounds you restore your confidence?

Pray

God, even when I’m feeling wilted and past my prime, give me confidence in my companions and in you. Amen.



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