When we think of the word “wait”, what does that look like? If someone is waiting for someone or something, what are they actually doing? It is easy to think of waiting as doing nothing. Waiting can seem like inaction, waiting for a later time when you will act. But read the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians. Read it all but the last verse.
Paul writes of their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ,” they are imitators of Paul–who was no slouch, and they did this in affliction. The church has been an example all around Achaia and Macedonia, and beyond that, the word of the Lord has sounded forth from them everywhere. They welcomed Paul and his colleagues and they turned from idols to worship the living and true God. Does that sound like they’re doing nothing? This is how they wait, waiting for the the Son from heaven.
Waiting for Jesus’ return is not sitting on our hands. Later in his letter Paul explicitly tells them to admonish the idle. To wait upon Jesus is a vigilant life. It is active, for he did not leave us here to do nothing. We have a purpose and he has given us his Spirit! Why would we be blessed with the Holy Spirit if all we’re expected to do is nothing? Let’s wait, but do so in a way outline here in 1 Thessalonians.