Letter writing is, it would seem, a lost art these days. The conventions of written communications from days gone by have been all but forgotten.
The Apostle Paul was skilled at such things as testified by the large percentage of the New Testament that was poured through his pen—all in the form of letters. These letters often find their first point of communication (beyond the salutation previously discussed) in an expression of gratitude for the ones to whom he wrote.
First Thessalonians was one of the earliest of Paul’s letters. It was written to a fellowship very dear to the Apostle’s heart. He begins with an assurance of his constance in prayer for them:
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers… (1 Thess 5.2).
This is pretty routine, of course. It’s a pattern oft repeated. The apostle assures his readers that he prays for them and gives thanks for them. Then he explains the particular things about them that stir his gratitude:
…Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5.3).