My Joy and Crown

“After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you!”—1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NLT)
 
When most people look at my kids, they see two gorgeous, energetic, affectionate, sweet, and friendly children. That’s not what I see . . . or more accurately, that’s not all I see. When I look at my son, Jude, and daughter, Zoë, I see my pride and joy, my heart, my love; I see the greatest contribution I will ever make to this world. They are, for me, a crown, a reward from God, more valuable than all the gold in Midas’ kingdom.
 
For the apostle Paul, the churches he planted and the believers he ministered to within them were his children. He loved them so dearly. We see that very clearly throughout all of the apostle’s letters, but I don’t think we see it more clearly than we do in Philippians 4:1 and here in 1 Thessalonians 2:19.
 
Just as I consider my two kids to be the greatest contribution I will ever make to the world, the apostle Paul felt this way about his spiritual children. Paul said that, when Jesus returns, his crown and his reward will be having the opportunity to present these believers to Jesus as a father presents his daughter to her husband at a wedding. This is the thought that brings Paul the utmost joy, that thrills him and his co-laborers with hope, joy, and pride. Paul expressed similar sentiments in 2 Corinthians 11:2 (NLT) when he said, “I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.”
 
As believers, when we pour into the life of someone and minister to them, when we have the opportunity to disciple and mentor someone in the faith, they are for us like a crown, a beautiful garland adorning our head before the Lord Jesus. And we should see those whom we minister to with the same lens as we see our own children. We should experience the same joy and pride when we see them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ as we do when our own children hit milestones. After all, they are our family, our brothers and sisters in Christ, our spiritual sons and daughters.
 
DIG: Who is your crown?
 
DISCOVER: When you stand before Jesus, who will you be able to present to Him?
 
DISPLAY: Are you being discipled? Is someone pouring into you the way Paul poured into Timothy, Barnabas, Epaphroditus, the Thessalonians, Philippians, and Corinthians? If so, express how grateful you are to that spiritual parent. If not, find one today! It’s such an important part of the Christian life. Are you pouring into the lives of others? If so, are you showing the kind of ministerial affection Paul did? If not, pray about who you can mentor and disciple.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.