Monday Devotional: October 22, 2023




Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 (NRSVUE)

1 You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3 For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 4 but, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals but to please God, who tests our hearts. 5 As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed, 6 nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, 7 though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle[a] among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8 So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

“They will know we are Christians by our love.” I think about this line often and wonder what folks would think if they only had one interaction with me. Would they feel a sense of belonging? Would the interaction recognize their gifts and give them a sense of kinship? Would they be curious about the God I believe in and the Christ I follow because of the love and hospitality that I have shown?

As twenty-first century Christians, we may not think much about what it means to be apostle of Christ. Many of us have places of worship, can attend our small group without fear of persecution, and can get all the Christian literature we want- all great things. But what does a life of discipleship look like for those of us who are not personally or immediately the targets of opposition and injustice but live in an unjust world? What is discipleship when the dominant version of Christianity is individualistic and doesn’t see the apostolic call as a call to community?

When I was growing up, our house was the place people gathered. Everyone from a friend of a friend who was passing through town and needed a place to stay to college friends who needed a home-cooked meal found our home to be a place to land.

In what ways are you accepting the call to use your whole self to share the gospel? How are your actions and words evidence of the love you have for God and neighbor?

“They will know we are Christians by our Love.” Or better yet, they will know we love God and neighbor by our love.


Nurturing God who calls us to embody “the gospel of God but also our own selves,” test our hearts so that the love we experience from you will be poured out to our neighbors. Amen.

By Sophia Agtarap, The Upper Room Disciplines 2023, page 358.