Read 1 Thessalonians 5
Focus on verse 13b-14
Having grown up in, and bearing the heritage of the German/Russian Mennonite tradition has been something that I have been increasingly thankful for. While I would admit I have drifted away from some of the main tenets of the Mennonite religion, I will continue to value many of the cultural traditions that I have inherited.
Most Mennonites tend to be hardworking and resourceful people. One of the distinctive values of the Mennonite faith I grew up in is a strong adherence to a philosophy of non-resistance. I have a number of ancestors who were conscientious objectors during the First World War choosing to serve in alternative work camps or as medics rather than to train and serve in the army where they may have had to kill another person.
In today’s reading Paul admonishes that Thessalonians to,
Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (v. 13b-14)
This would be an accurate description of what I was taught growing up. To live at peace, to work hard, to encourage those who were tired or weak, and to be patient with everyone. This is not to suggest that I was raised in some secret utopian community, nor was I always successful in following those admonitions, but I continue, to this day, to be appreciative of the values that were instilled in my character at a young age, and to this day I have attempted to be the kind of person that is both peaceful and hardworking.