Friendships are one of the most important parts of life but can be difficult to develop and maintain. So many other priorities can overshadow the value and importance of deep friendship. In this passage from 1 Thessalonians, Paul's close friendship with the people of that city is evident. Through his words, we learn a lot about the value, the purpose, and the meaning of friendship. Seeing his example can encourage us in our own efforts to be a good friend.
We live between the times: between the first coming of Christ and the future coming of Christ. It’s a hard place to be, because what we long for hasn’t been fully realized. But it’s also an exciting place to be, because what we long for has been partially realized. As we experience something of what we long for, we anticipate the coming day, but we also appreciate the present day in light of the coming day. In his two letters to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul references the future “coming” of Christ more than he does in all his other letters combined. Our study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians therefore will help us live—really live—in the present, between the times, leaning into the future.