Friday, January 20, 2012


I once received an awkward love letter from a secret admirer. I found it in my college mailbox, covered in red hearts, written in red ink. Although I must admit that my inner 12 year-old received an ego boost, while my 19 year-old logical cortices were introducing some skepticism. I had received a prank love letter some years before and I was wondering which current friend of mine was riddled enough with cruelty to take the time to orchestrate such a prank.
The content of the letter seemed pretty standard for an anonymous love letter. It suggested that the author was really impressed with me. She gushed about my personality and how she found me attractive. She said she thought we would be a good match for each other, but she was afraid to divulge her identity. Even though I was in disbelief regarding the author’s authenticity, I still blushed. 
In reading the second and third chapters of the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, I could not help but notice how it also sounds like a gushy love letter. Paul said that the Thessalonians were his “glory and joy,” he also described an “intense longing” to see them again. He also mentions overflowing love for them.
It seems to me that this type of outpouring is a largely unrecognized benefit of spiritual mentorship. Because Paul had taken the time to teach the Thessalonians and modeled a Christ-focused life, he had invested effort in their success. He had watched them slowly progress and cheered them on. This sounds like a lot of work, but as the letter suggests, the result was overflowing love for them.
What would happen to the Church if we looked beyond our own navels and opened ourselves to this kind of love? What if you gave your heart to spiritually mentoring someone else? To whom would you write a Thessalonians-type love letter? Could you be an admirer like Paul?
P.S. The love letter I received was not a prank, the author did reveal herself to me. It was so awkward that I just kind of laughed and we never spoke about it again.

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