1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 2 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
The package in the mail smelled like resurrection.
Okay, it actually smelled like coffee… but for pastors (especially pastors on the day after Easter), coffee just might be the closest thing to the real deal. Nothing says “resurrection” like a healthy dose of caffeine, right?
Keith brought the package in from the mailbox. “Did you order coffee?” he asked. It was a fair question. He and I are getting just about everything delivered these days.
“No,” I replied. “Let me see it.” I looked at the label and packaging. Toasted & Roasted Coffee, courtesy of Ed and Faith Kimes. “Oh, look what he did!” I said, showing my husband the label.
Ed Kimes was the senior pastor of East Stroudsburg UMC, the very first church where I served as a pastor. More than any seminary course or ministry colleague, it’s Ed who taught me to be a pastor. Ed is still the person I call or text whenever I have a question about ministry, whenever I need advice, whenever I need to talk something through. Early last year, when the DS told me the bishop wanted to appoint me to serve at Wesley, Ed was one of the first people I called. A few weeks ago, when coronavirus shut down just about everything, Ed’s number went on speed dial. He’s a colleague, a friend, a mentor. He and his wife Faith have been incredible sources of support to me throughout the years.
Toasted & Roasted – a coffee roastery and cafe based in Los Angeles – is owned by their daughter and son-in-law. (Check them out! The coffee aromas are incredible, and the beans are responsibly sourced. What could be better?) Ed decided to gift the LaBar family with a little care package, and support his daughter’s business in the process. It was a thoughtful, delightful, most welcome gesture.
So I sent him a text: “This really awesome couple sent me a care package of high-quality fresh-roasted coffee!” I wrote. “Thanks, truly. It’s a nice pick-me-up.”
He replied: “Gentle way to say we appreciate you & all you & Keith are doing to help others.”
Ed’s reply calls to mind these words from the beginning of 1 Thessalonians, words of prayer and appreciation and thanksgiving. His care package was a caffeinated expression of those words from verses 2-3: “We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I imagine you have some people in your life for whom you’re giving thanks, people who embody words like “work of faith” and “labor of love,” especially in these trying times. I encourage you, church — find ways to share your prayerful appreciation with them. It doesn’t have to be through a care package of coffee (though that would probably be most welcome!). It can be simple: a call, a text, a card, a photo, an email, a care package. It’s not just kind and encouraging — it’s sacred and biblical. You won’t believe the difference you can make.
And remember, friends:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/