Sunday, July 31, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Suffering as part of Mission

Sherin Abraham

St. Andrews MTC, NY
30. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
 
This passage talks about Paul’s sufferings he endured as part of being a missionary for Christ. Paul is one of the prominent members in Christianity who is widely regarded as the Apostle of the Gentiles. When we think about who Paul was before he met Jesus, he was probably one of the most hated person in the early Christian world. He was a Pharisee who persecuted the people who followed Jesus and even supervised the murder of Stephen and many more. After his encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus (Acts 9), he radically changed to become a missionary for Jesus.

Paul was writing this letter to people in Corinth to show his authenticity as the one sent by God. He wanted them to know why they should believe him rather than the false teachers who were spreading false teachings. What Paul is humbly trying to boast is that his credibility comes from the sufferings that he had to undergo as part of his mission given by God. He was whipped, flogged, stoned, starved for days, arrested and put in jail, shipwrecked, and faced many trials (v. 23-27). Imagine, the man who used to be a persecutor, was persecuted as a criminal for the sake of the Gospel. For Paul to comment as a fool and boast in his weakness, he understands that his suffering is nothing compared to what Jesus did on the cross.

As Abraham Mar Thoma Thirumeni stated “Every Marthomite is a missionary”, we are called to be missionaries in the community that we live in. There is so much hatred and violence in this world. At this time, where people question the existence of God or stop believing that God has complete authority over everything, we, as Marthomites, are called to remind the world of God's love for His children. The death and suffering of Jesus on the cross is a reminder that God has completely paid the ransom for our sins. As Paul suffered, we are also called to suffer for the sake of God's mission. When we experience God’s divine love, then we are compelled to share the gospel for the hope that we have in eternity with Jesus.

PRAYER

Father God, make us instruments of Your peace. Bless us with the belief  that we can make a difference in the world for our neighbors. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."  2 Corinthians 12:9