“We were gentle among you , like a mother caring for her little children.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:7
Is it weird that Paul describes himself as a mother? What does a mother know about leadership? Well, dads, have you ever watched your wife with your kids? Generally speaking, they’ve got a gentleness and a sensitivity that we just don’t. I think children find the most comfort and security with their moms. I remember with our girls — I could play with them for hours, do fun things for them and with them all day long. But when they got hurt, where did they run? Straight to mom. Every time.
Actually, that word “caring” is more correctly translated “nursing.” “Nursing her children” gives us an image of Christian leaders actually feeding and giving nourishment to the congregation.
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” ~1 Thessalonians 2:8
A mother teaches her children how to cross the street, how to eat at the table, and how to match pony tail holders with shirts. But she also pours her heart and her soul into her kids. Because she loves them so much. To lead with love is a lot more than just teaching. It means being intimately involved in people’s lives. And it takes time and effort and it leads to disappointment. But, like Paul, our love compels us to do it.
We’re in each other’s homes, we’re praying together, rejoicing and mourning together, genuinely and actively interested and involved in each other’s lives. That kind of love is sacrificial.
Bill Hybels says, “Tell me how to show love without spending time, money, or energy, and I’ll gladly sign up. Tell me that love means sacrifice, however, and I’m reluctant to commit.”
It’s basically following the model of Jesus who did it first and best. Christ’s priority was in giving, not getting; on serving, not being served; on loving, not necessarily being loved.