1 Thessalonians 3.8: For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.
A sufferer is writing to those who are suffering - Paul to the people in Thessalonica. People who are suffering (Paul in this instance for his love for the Lord Jesus) can find it hard to find hope and life. That is why Paul's statement is so interesting as to where he finds "life" as a "pastor"- the people of God - despite the suffering, opposition and persecution they continue to stand firm in the Lord. They have not wavered, they have not denied the faith, they have not gone the easy route - they are standing firm, looking to the Lord for their strength.
Pastor's today are told to find their "life" in all sorts of areas - successful churches, powerful sermons, influential character and many other things. But that can easily become discouraging because churches are not always "successful", sermons at times barely squeak out, and our character is ignored or has so many flaws left, we seriously doubt any influence at all.
That is why I love Paul's words and they become my prayer: God - may I find life in the people you have given me - may I find life when they are standing firm. May that be my purpose, my joy, my passion and my life.
The beauty is it takes our eyes off our ministry and success or lack of success and places them on true life - God's glory as it shines in the light of the people. What is Paul saying when he says they are standing firm? He is saying they love God more than the world; they love the glory of God more than the goodness of the world.
And that is life - life for a pastor - purpose for a pastor - and the prayer of the pastor - May my people love you more and more so they stand firm in the the Lord against all the opposition and suffering. May you grant them a love for God that is above all else in this world.