1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 – ‘We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father…’
The word the Apostle Paul uses for labor, kopou, means ‘costly exertion’ as opposed to ergou, the general term for work. In other words, we are reminded that Christianity is not a life to be endured for duty’s sake, but a person (Jesus) to be served for love’s sake.
The Apostle goes on to talk about how the people of Thessalonica had turned from idols to serve the living God. We know who or what we worship by what we are willing to put ‘costly exertion’ into. If you are married and have kids, you know what it is to perform a labor of love as opposed to performing a job you do not enjoy. How do you see your relationship with Christ? Is it a dreadful duty or a sacrifice of love that energizes you?
You can also identify the idols that have taken God’s place by what you are giving costly exertion to. What are you prioritizing with your time, talent, and treasure? That is your object of worship.
Heavenly Father, help me to identify any idols in my life that I’m putting ahead of you. I want Jesus Christ to be at the center of everything I do. May your love compel me into a labor of love for you. Amen.