Gratitude helps build community. That’s why California educator Mike Fauteux built an online tool to promote more gratitude in schools. Called GiveThx, this app provides a way for students to write thank-you notes to each other. Teachers can even start “gratitude waves” aimed at particular students who might need extra encouragement.
Paul remembered his Thessalonian friends with thankfulness to the Lord (v. 2). Specifically, his prayers focused on their “work produced by faith,” their “labor prompted by love,” and their “endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3). Faith, hope, and love are often mentioned together in Paul’s epistles (see 1 Cor. 13:13). Here these qualities are treated as causes and paired with effects. That is, faith leads to work or good deeds (Eph. 2:8–10; James 2:14–17), love leads to labor for the Lord, and hope in Christ’s return leads to endurance or perseverance through difficulties and persecution.
Paul was thankful that these causes and effects were true in the lives of the Thessalonians. He prayed that this would become even more true as the church continued to mature. The verb “remember” is more substantial in Greek and Hebrew than in English. Biblical remembering is not merely the mental activity of recalling something. It includes action. For example, when God said to Noah, “I will remember,” it means He will keep His promise (Gen. 9:12–17). When we are told, “Remember your Creator,” it means we should worship and obey God throughout our entire lives (Eccl. 12:1–7). So when Paul said, “We remember,” it means that in addition to praying for them, he stood by, ready to help them grow in discipleship. How? By writing this letter.
Who can you remember today? We can remember others by consistently lifting them up to the Lord in prayer. And consider how your “remembrances” can be accompanied by concrete godly actions.
Lord, as we remember those you have placed on our hearts, stoke our faith into works on their behalf, stir our love into service, and strengthen our hope into prayerful endurance.