“…as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children…“
In describing how the gospel team nurtured the Thessalonians, Paul now changes his metaphor from a nursing mother to a father.
as you know how
For the fourth time, Paul appeals to the Thessalonians’ knowledge of his ministry. The word “as” means just as. They knew exactly how Paul’s team conducted their ministry. They were thoroughly familiar with this ministry. They had the “know- how” of genuine ministry.
In the “father’s” role as the gospel team’s, they did three things: exhorted, comforted and charged.
The word “exhorted” literally means to call to one’s side. “Exhorted” bears such ideas as comfort, summons, urge, implore and beseech. Thus, it carries both the ideas of comfort and rebuke.
“Exhorted” appeals to the will. The team challenged the Thessalonians to mature in Christ and to take steps of faith in their growth. To exhort is to call someone to courage.
Leaders must challenge the behavior of their followers.
There is a verbal element to leadership. Good leaders must be willing to challenge followers face-to-face.
Every father must explain how life operates. Each stage of life brings a new challenge. We expect different things in life at different times. Children need to understand the disciplines of life in relation to different challenges they face. A parent is critical or kind depending on the situation. One situation calls for comfort and another calls for a dressing down. One without the other lacks balance and will produce immature believers.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).