Series: The Empty Nest Family Shepherd: A Fatherly Pastoral Letter to Adult Children
Article #2: Greetings from Your Father
Previous Article in Series: The Empty Nest Family Shepherd – Introduction to 1 Thessalonians and Series
Now that we have dispensed with the introductory material that gives credence to the connection between this pastoral epistle and a father’s words to his adult children, let’s jump into the text.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
–1 Thessalonians 1:1
All three of the men listed as the senders of this letter had a familial bond with the church at Thessalonica. They had been present for the birth of the church and had a fatherly affection (1 Thessalonians 2:11) for these believers even when absent from their presence. Because they were away from them did not mean that they had forgotten them. Instead they send this letter and begin it with a short salutation.
In this initial greeting they quickly establish that it is they who are writing and specify to whom they are writing. Since I have four adult children plus some in-law children, these words matter most as it relates to my relationship with them. I am placing it on the blog with the secondary hope that it will be helpful to others who think and pray for their adult children.
The greeting spells out two important aspects of the relationship between parents and their adult children. The first is that it is not a relationship limited to an earthly parent and an earthly child. It is “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I want my children to know that their is a spiritual dimension to this relationship. I, myself, have a Father. As important as my relationship to my earthly father is to me, the dimension that stirs me to prayer for my children is the relationship with my heavenly father. I am invoking the presence of this Father into my fatherly relationship with the kids.
I am also unashamedly Christian. It is the Lord Jesus Christ to whom I belong. I am his follower.
Part of the prayer of an earthly father is that this be so of his children as well. I want them to look not to the limitations I possess, but to the fulness of Fatherhood found in God. I want them to know and follow the Lord Jesus. I want to have a relationship with them of being fellow disciples. From a selfish perspective, there can be no greater bond between us than if the Lord is at the center of our relationship.
The second aspect of this greeting lies in the words “Grace to you and peace.” My kids know I am sinner. I know that they are, too. What I hope for them is to experience the wonderful grace that flows from heaven’s throne. The grace that converts and draws them closely to the Lord.
But not only do I hope for them to experience grace, I wish them peace as well. May they experience the kind of peace that comes to those who walk with the Lord. May it be a peace that reigns even in the midst of life’s tumultuous moments.
Whether I speak to them on the phone, see them in person or write to them, I want to begin each conversation with the hope that they are in the Lord and experiencing his grace and peace. I may not verbally express that to them each time, but that is what is in my heart and mind as each conversation commences.
In the next article, we will zero in on the aspect of offering gratitude to the Lord for our adult children.