As I read today’s passage I noted that Paul had evidently warned the Thessalonians right at the start of their spiritual walk with Christ that following Christ would mean the suffering of affliction. He told them that he personally would suffer such affliction. Here is this godly, faithful man, Paul, who roams the world telling others of Christ, and yet he is afflicted beyond belief. If this man of God could be so afflicted, they had to know that they could expect no better.
1 Thessalonians 3:4 ESV
“For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.”
I’m sure the peddlers of the prosperity gospel don’t like this concept but Jesus didn’t tell us that following Him would lead to a financially or physically rewarding life on this earth. He told us that we would suffer for His sake. The thing is we do have incredible wealth on this earth as followers of Christ. Our wealth is not gold or physical things but rather joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. In the midst of worldly affliction we are spiritually wealthy and healthy. We are children of the One True God. We have His Holy Spirit residing within us. God goes with us through our afflictions. Is that not incredible? Is there anything of greater value?
Now if you really want to be spiritually wealthy Paul gives us a hint in today’s passage as to how to go about that.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 ESV
“ For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  For you are our glory and joy.”
Paul loved God and he loved others. He loved both so much that he spent his life, while making tents to support himself, sharing the Gospel with the Lost. The Thessalonians were some of these people with whom he shared his faith. You want crowns in Heaven? The people with whom you share the Gospel are your crowns! They are your joy! Do you notice that your great wealth in Christ is found by loving outward not loving inward? Loving yourself takes you in the wrong direction and robs you of your inheritance. Loving God and loving others are what make a man spiritually wealthy, and this wealth is multiplied in Heaven on that glorious day when we see Jesus face to face.
Here is the Gospel brothers; love God, love others! Go get your crowns!