Did you think about heaven or the Lord’s return this week?  If you did, what sort of thoughts filled your mind and heart?  When the Apostle Paul thought about the return of Jesus Christ he thought about people who were transformed by the gospel.  Specifically, he thought about how the Thessalonians would be a source of joy for him at the appearing of the Lord.

During his ministry in Thessalonica, Paul made a major investment in the lives of the Thessalonians.  He ministered the Word of God to them in a gentle and affectionate manner.  Despite this, there was strong opposition to Paul’s ministry that forced him to leave the city of Thessalonica (Acts 17).

Paul’s attempts to return to Thessalonica were unsuccessful (1 Thessalonians 2:17-19).  Lest the Thessalonians might think that Paul really did not care about them, he sincerely expressed his love to them in the letter we call 1 Thessalonians.  In the latter verses of 1 Thessalonians 2 (17-19), Paul affirmed that the Thessalonians would be his hope, joy, and crown of boasting when he stands before the Lord at His appearing.

The return of the Lord would be a source of joy for Paul not only because of the Lord Himself but also because of the Lord’s work in the Thessalonian believers. Paul looked beyond the difficulties that hindered him from seeing the Thessalonians to the return of the Lord when he would be reunited with those who were so special to him.  Are you looking forward to the joy associated with the Lord’s return?  It is sweet to know that all our people investments will be a crown of rejoicing at His return.