Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Difference and Dignity of all Creation
1 Thessalonians 5: 12-22
14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
As Paul closes out his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, he gives instructions to the new believers for how to do life together. Paul starts by encouraging the young church to respect its leaders and those who are laboring among them. Paul then states to be at peace among yourselves suggesting there may be tensions between the people. Paul writes for the church to get along with each other, each doing their part. He highlights the different struggles that people may be having and how others in the church can be an encouragement to them. This demonstrates the beauty in the church when we all work together despite our differences and how we can encourage each other in our weaknesses. This picture of working for the mutual good with our strengths and weakness is not often the reality today. One of the things that makes life together difficult is the differences that exist between people. What does it mean to uphold the difference and dignity of all creation?
When we think about what it is that dignifies a person, we often look at external appearance, profession or title. However, the truth that gives all humans our dignity is our creation in imago dei, or in the image of God. Being an image-bearers of Christ is not a quality a man possesses but rather a condition established by God and given to all. This truth allows us to love and respect those who may be different than us.
The world often wages war by magnifying our differences and using it to divide people. But Jesus takes away the hierarchy and sees our differences as beautiful for our edification and the edification of the church. We see an image of God’s heart in Revelation 7 where a great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages are standing worshipping together before the throne and before the Lamb. Let us shift our view of others as image-bearers of Christ and use our differences to build each other up and not tear down.
Creator God, we recognize our identity as your image-bearers. Help us to encourage, love and honor each other and strive to do what is good for the other. Amen.
Thought for the Day
Am I getting nobler, better, more helpful, more humble, as I get older? Am I exhibiting the life that men take knowledge of as having been with Jesus, or am I getting more self- assertive, more deliberately determined to have my own way? The Place of Help, Oswald Chambers
Dr. Jisha Rachel Jacob
St. Peter’s Mar Thoma Church, NJ