‘For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain» (l Thessalonians 2:1).
THE PREACHING IN THESSALONICA occurred shortly after Paul and Silas were physically mistreated in Philippi. The punishment had been unfair. Moreover, Paul was a Roman citizen and, as such, should not have been punished.
That is why he says that they had boldness and trust in God by proclaiming the gospel there. Despite the challenge of preaching, the apostle was so interested in pleasing God, that he fulfilled the mission by taking little regard of others’ opinion of himself. This does not mean that Paul did not respect people’s feelings. What he means is that his goal was not to please men and conquer them by being cunning, rather to have God’s approval and to bring people closer to the Master. Hence, he did not flatter people, he did not seek praise from people. His business was to present the gospel of God.
Paul also writes that he proposed to earn his own livelihood, so that the gospel would be preached free of charge. With that, no one would have reason to accuse the apostle of preaching for personal gain, for he worked not to be a burden on his congregations.
The fact that Paul emphasizes the relevance of the Word of God as an essential element of the preaching and transformation of people deserves to be highlighted. Paul was rekindled by the Word of God. Being a preacher of the Word requires a correct ethical stance, for preaching occurs not only because of the content presented, but also because of the demonstrated posture.
Ellen G. White says that while Paul boldly proclaimed the gospel in the synagogue of Thessalonica, rays of light were poured out. «Paul was a believer in the second coming of Christ; so clearly and forcibly did he present the truths concerning this event, that upon the minds of many who heard there was made an impression which never wore away» (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 228—229).
Paul was daring and his mission was above his function. God was above the human being. The Word was on above his word. His fellow man came before him. The iron chains that bound his feet were the foretaste of the gold crown that would adorn his head.
Lettie Cowman says that a good Roman soldier was the one who, after receiving a superior’s order that implied danger, replied: