We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2 NIV)
Paul begins this letter by expressing his prayer for the church he was writing to. And, for the church at Thessalonica, his prayer was largely one of thanksgiving. Faith, hope, and love are mentioned together by Paul on a few other occasions and are significant aspects of our lives as believers.
Work Produced by Faith
Paul saw that this church in Thessalonica was active. They were at work for the Lord. And it was their faith that prompted it. This was a church that was suffering (2 Thess. 1:5). But that did not cause them to pull back and withdraw from the world around them. Rather they were active in bearing witness to the Lord Jesus and living for him.
Labor Prompted by Love
While their work was a product of faith, their labor was produced by love. I suspect Paul was not trying to draw a line between work and labor. Instead, I think he was expressing thanksgiving for the way that their faith and love were leading them to active participation in the Lord’s work.
The love here could be their love for God. Or it could be their love for a lost and dying world. Or it could be both. Love for God should lead to love for those he has created and for whom Jesus died.
Endurance Inspired by Hope
This church continued to work and labor, in spite of the opposition they faced. And it was their hope that inspired this endurance. Because they had a hope fixed for them in heaven. And it was a hope that nothing could shake. It was this hope that enabled them to persevere in spite of what they faced. They were convinced that what awaited them was better by far than what they were enduring now.
What are we known by, as individuals, and local church communities? Are we known as people of faith, love, and hope?