Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men]. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…
1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
In this morning’s devotional we will be looking at the third of Paul’s exhortations to us…
support the weak,
Who are the “weak” ones?
The best way to understand the meaning of this word is to realize that this word comes for the Greek word “asthenes”. It is from this word that we get our word “asthma”. Anyone who is familiar with those afflicted with asthma know that it involves physical weakness and inability to perform a task (due to lack of breath). When an asthma attack is severe, it stops all other activity and brings everything to an abrupt halt.
It helps if we compare being “weak” with those who are “feebleminded”…
In our previous devotion, we saw that the “feebleminded” were those who were lacking boldness, desire, or spirit. In other words, they lacked the inward strength of will to perform a task.
In comparison to the feebleminded, the “weak” possess the desire to serve the Lord, but are unable to fulfill their desires. They are weak, perhaps they are spiritually immature, weak in the faith, or struggling with some physical weakness which inhibits them from performing the task at hand. Because they take their service to Christ very seriously, it is like a “weight” of responsibility that lies before them. They deeply desire to bear their cross and follow Christ. However, when they try to lift the weight they find they cannot; their weakness inhibits them.
The important point is the feebleminded lack DESIRE while the weak lack ABILITY.
How can we help those who are weak?
In this text, we are told to “support” them. The idea of support involves “to attach to and prop up”. It implies two basic ideas:
1. to accompany someone
2. to help hold them up and make them firm
Any gardener knows that when a plant is drooping down, by tying it to a stake, it is able to stand tall, straight and firm. This is the exact meaning of “support”. We are the “stake” that should attach ourselves to the weak and support them in their service to Christ. When we see someone who is struggling to carry the weight of their service to Christ, we are to join up with them and help lift their cross and follow Christ.
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification.
For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:That ye may with one mind [and] one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:1-6)
May we all be aware of those who are struggling to fulfill His will for their lives. May we take the time to share our lives with them and, in doing so, help them to serve the Lord in greater ways.