AS A NURSE CHERISHETH HER CHILDREN
1 Thess 2:7-8 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
A nurse has many descriptions. They can be one that is trained to take care of the young children of other parents. They can also be a person that is trained to treat, or attend to the medical needs of those that are sick, injured, or elderly. Anyone that gives nourishment, protection, or educational development to another, is considered to be a nurse. The apostle, Paul, served the cause of Christ with the gentleness of a nurse, caring for others in need. The need of the Thessalonians, to whom this letter is addressed, was spiritual guidance, that would lead them to eternal rest in heaven, through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Savior.
Not only did Paul serve the cause of Christ with the gentleness of a nurse, but this was also exactly what he taught the young preacher, Timothy. In his second letter to him, he said that the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves (2 Tim. 2:24-25a). In order to effectively preach Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, it is necessary to use gentleness, because the message itself is filled with gentle wisdom. This James assured us when he wrote, But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17). To teach Jesus, as the gentle shepherd of God's children, preachers and teachers must be equally gentle; fully understanding the spiritual needs of those being taught; meekly dispensing the truth, and only the truth, that is found in the word of God.
The winning of souls to God through His Son, Jesus Christ, cannot be accomplished through rigorous, harsh, severe, demanding, or oppressive instruction, even though the message may be scriptural, in its content. Only through an understanding attitude of a teacher, can sinners be reached with the message of salvation. Only then will they hear, believe, accept, and obey the will of God, and be baptized into the body of Christ, for the remission of their sins. Dependable, faithful nurses will not force-feed children entrusted to them, and neither should a preacher of God's word, demand its acceptance by rigorous censure, inflicting adverse guilt and judgment, or harshly condemning the sinfulness of those outside the body of Christ. When reaching out to sinners that are spiritually and morally weak, a preacher of God's word must demonstrate a condescending, outward behavior. The apostle, Paul, was a good example of this to the church at Thessalonica, but also to the Corinthian church. To them he wrote, To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you (1 Cor. 9:22-23).
Often we witness, on a television newscast, a person that was saved from a life-threatening ordeal, being reunited to the person that was instrumental in saving them. A very touching moment generally results. Many very close, and lasting, friendships often result from such eventful occasions. Compare this to Paul's conversion of lost souls to Jesus Christ. How much more love and devotion must be experienced between the teacher and the bible student, when the gospel message of salvation, through Jesus Christ, is taught, believed, and obeyed. Paul was able to bring God's hope of eternal salvation to many people throughout the world.
Those of Thessalonica were so dear to him that he was, not only willing to impart the gospel message of New Testament Christianity, but he was also willing to risk his own physical life to do so. He was affectionately desirous of their spiritual well-being. For them, he desired the salvation of their souls. The apostle John tells us, that the love of God can be seen in us, if we imitate our Savior, because He (Jesus) laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16). Jesus, Himself, said, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Here we have God's will for every Christian. We are to be Christ-like, in our love for the physical and spiritual needs of our fellow man. We are to imitate Christ's servant, Paul, when he said that we are to be gentle (disciples of Christ) among all people that we can possibly influence. We are to be concerned for their souls even as he was - even as a nurse cherisheth her children.