Sunday, April 8, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Commissioning By the Risen Lord
2 Timothy 2: 1-8
Vs.19. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20. and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
 2 Timothy was Paul's last letter, written from Nero's prison in Rome, while awaiting execution, to his spiritual son, Timothy, exhorting Timothy to be strong in faith and steadfast in endurance. Timothy was in Ephesus then and struggled with the feeling of inadequacy. Paul knew that Timothy faced a lot of hardships and persecution from outside the Church and also from false teachers within the Church. Paul urged Timothy to guard the Gospel, preach the word, endure hardship and fulfill his mission by preserving the faith by passing on its truths to reliable men who would teach it to others also. Teaching others the Word of God was to ensure the continued spreading of the Gospel. To withstand the trials we face, rather than relying on our own strength, we have to grow stronger in our love for God and also have to be strengthened in our faith. The Grace of God  in union with Jesus is essential for our spiritual growth. God wants devoted disciples. Paul used the metaphors of a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3), Athlete (Vs.5) and a Farmer (vs.6), to describe a good man of God.
Soldier: A good soldier endures hardships. An active soldier on the frontline is a good example of a bold person because in the frontline you can expect suffering.  A soldier has to give up everything else and be willing to die for the cause entrusted to him. He will have to be away from his family most of the time. He has to  be focused all the time as he is on active duty 24/7; not part-time. The enemy could attack anytime without any warning. If he is not alert, he might get wounded or even killed.  In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, "If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget himself, take up his cross every day, and follow me". Being a disciple, like a soldier, is a full-time job. A disciplined soldier will not get involved in the civilian affairs, as it is against the military rules.  When we follow Jesus, we are expected to stay away from anything that may distract us from our goal; we must strive to please our Lord.
Athlete: An athlete must compete according to the rules, must be disciplined, train hard and be persistent. To win, an athlete has to participate in the race with adequate preparation. In Heb. 12:1, we read, ".. let us run with determination the race that lies before us". We must strive to win; not just finishing the race. Like an athlete competes,  we must be prepared to compete against Satan in our daily lives. Just as an athlete has to follow the rules, all the rules needed for a successful life is in the Bible.
Farmer: A farmer has to work hard by preparing the land, sow the seeds/plant, fertilize it, rain and sunshine needed; yet his gratification is delayed as it takes time to harvest. We all want instant gratification, but patience is a virtue, just like a farmer has to wait for his crop. Dedication and sacrifice are essential for a successful farmer. In 1 Cor. 3: 7, we read, "The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because He makes the plant grow". We will have to forsake the worldly pleasures to enjoy the everlasting joy.
Lord, help us to make a commitment to be like a dedicated soldier, a disciplined athlete and a hardworking farmer. May we be like You so that others will know that we are Christians by our love, by our Godly deeds and actions than our words. Amen.
John 15:13, "The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them". As the followers of our risen Lord, this is the kind of love that we are expected to emulate.

Alex Thomas, Atlanta MTC
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church