“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children“
With this verse, the emphasis shifts from the gospel team to the response to their message at Thessalonica.
The word “but” here is a strong contrast in the original language. This answers the preceding negatives.
we were gentle among you,
The word “gentle” is the word infant in Greek. The reason the gospel team became as infants among the Thessalonians is that they were more concerned about the welfare of the young Christians in that place than they were in asserting their own rights. In their immaturity in Christ, the Thessalonians needed warm care rather than haughty commands. We can injure new Christians very easily.
The gospel team showed tenderness toward the Thessalonians. They accommodated themselves to the culture and the spiritual level of the people to whom they ministered. We reach people by approaching them from their approachable side.
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5).
Paul, at times, was not gentle. He was not gentle with the Galatians because there was a doctrinal issue among that group. There is no latitude, no flexibility, and no compromise with essential doctrinal matters. When it came to people whose hearts were right, he was “gentle.”
just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children
The “nursing mother” here is not simply a nurse but a nurse who cherishes her children. This nurse has the capacity and competency to nurse, but she has innate maternal instinct. It is one thing to be a professional, but it is another thing to be a mother. The idea here is not simply that of a nurse but that of a nursing mother because this nurse “cherishes her own children.” A nursing mother cares tenderly for her little one.
“As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13).
The word “cherishes” primarily means to heat, to soften by heat; then, it came to mean to keep warm, like birds covering their young with their feathers (Deuteronomy 22:6). “Cherishes” metaphorically came to mean to cherish with tender love, to foster with tender care (Ephesians 5:29 — of Christ and the Church). In our passage, it is the care of the saints at Thessalonica by the gospel team. They were in the business of fostering the saints. The team lavished on this church the same tender, affectionate care as a nursing mother does for her own children.
Leaders should care for younger Christians in tenderness.
Those who care for new believers should care for them as a mother cares for her little children.
“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (2 Corinthians 12:15).
”And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).