There is a proverb that says ‘good things come in little packages’, which has often encouraged me since I’m not very tall! As a child, we tend to like the ‘big’ presents at Christmas; as adults, our presents tend to get smaller but cost even more! (Think of jewellery or computer equipment, for example…)

At the end of 1 Thessalonians, Paul gives us several commandments: sentences that are direct and to the point, but which contain a host of vital information. These ‘final instructions’ contain a wealth of guidance and direction, each wrapped in little packages:

  1. Acknowledge those who work hard among you
  2. Hold them in the highest regard in love
  3. Warn those who are idle and disruptive
  4. Encourage the disheartened
  5. Help the weak
  6. Be patient with everyone
  7. Don’t pay back wrong for wrong
  8. Strive to do what is good for others
  9. Rejoice always
  10. Pray continually
  11. Give thanks in all circumstances
  12. Don’t quench the Spirit
  13. Don’t treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all
  14. Hold on to what is good
  15. Reject every kind of evil

Phew! That’s a lot of little packages to unpack and ponder!