Thursday, October 2, 2014

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Be a Witness


Suja Thannickal
St. Thomas MTC, NY
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.


What an amazing group of men that had gathered at this time in Antioch. The Lord had raised up these leaders from all places and stations of life. These men did not look for their own glory or promotions, but they wanted to be eager ministers for Christ and his church. These men were all called personally as well as called by the community of faith to lead the church. The Holy Spirit then called out from these prophets and teachers, just two men, Barnabas and Saul, for a new ministry.

Barnabas and Saul were the most prominent and the most well-known and respected teachers out of these group of men. The early church had learned to rely on these two men. If they left on this new ministry, the faith community may wonder how things will move forward for them. The truth was that the Holy Spirit had called them and they now must leave the church in capable hands of the others. Those leaders may never have realized the implications that this mission team will have on the world. Churches sprang up in all the corners of the earth and people who worshiped Jesus Christ were ready to lay their lives on the line for him because of these journeys.  

The Church back home then had to carry on and do their part as well. The faithful were steadfast and as Acts 11:21 says about the church in Antioch, "The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord." This church remained a strong church of faith that witnessed to others “the good news about the Lord Jesus.” Acts11:20. People were then being converted to Christ and His Church. The word “Christians” was first used describing this church Acts11:26. What an example of a faith community that continued to witness to their neighbors and friends. They didn't have to go far and on long journeys to make a major impact.

The early church was blessed. It had what many churches want today.  A community where prayer, fasting, and a total trust in God are the foundations of their faith.  Many were willing to be a part of this new church even if speaking about Christ brought struggles and pains. God’s plan is for us to be his witnesses’ right in our own parishes and communities. He has called each of us to be faithful and obedient. We cannot rely on our own merits and accomplishments but only on Christ and his saving grace. God knows the road will be filled with hardships as well as triumphs. We have to take the first step and go forward to His mission field. Where will we witness today?


PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Allow us to be a true witness to you even when we see our own shortcomings. Let us show others that you live in us and we can be faithful to your plan in our lives. Let us be able to accept your mission for us in our parishes and communities. AMEN

 


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Witnessing to others doesn’t always require a passport but what it does require is for us to speak truth and trust in God.