TODAY’S SCRIPTURE 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Do you ever get pictures in your mind of what certain people in the Bible might have looked like, or even what they sounded like when they talked? While we see drawings on Bible school literature and paintings by artists, none of us knows exactly what Esther or David, Paul or Ruth looked like.

But we are, at times, given glimpses into the personalities of these people, and sometimes they might surprise us. For example, when we think of Paul, it might be easy to get the picture of a hardened man who had been through enough spiritual battles and debates that he was cold or even mean.

However, in 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul writes to encourage these young Christians and he says, “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (vs. 7). He ends the section by saying that the people had become “very dear” to himself and his companions (vs. 8).

There is, certainly, a side of leadership that needs to be strong and bold. In this context, though, we see that true leadership — especially as it pertains to reaching people with the Gospel — has a gentler side. It is so loving and so intimate that it can be illustrated by a mother nursing her little baby. It is hard to imagine many things more intimate than that.

I need to ask myself: Do I love the lost that much? When I am leading people toward Christ, could my leadership ever be described in such intimate and beautiful words? Paul writes that we are to be “speaking the truth,” but it needs to be done “in love” (Ephesians 4:15). As all Christians are leaders in one sense or another, we need to make sure to be bold and courageous but also gentle and loving.

Today I will…pray for more gentleness as I seek to lead others to Christ, and for the wisdom to know the balance of boldness and gentleness that is needed in dealing with people.