THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
THE STRENGTH THAT COMES FROM GOD
2 Timothy 1:1-8
The psalmist says this of God: “strength and beauty
are in his sanctuary.” (Ps 96:6b,RSV). He is the Lord
who “made the heavens.” (Ps 96:5b). He is the
awesome Creator, and we are to recognize that “great
is the Lord and highly to be praised, to be feared above all
gods.” (Ps 96:4).
are called to relate to this strong God in two ways. One,
we are to worship Him. “Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, bless his name” (Ps 96:1a,2a). Two,
we are to proclaim Him to all the world. “Tell God’s
glory among the nations, among all peoples, God’s marvelous
deeds.” (Ps 96:3). In particular, we are to proclaim
the good news of salvation in Jesus, to “announce his
salvation day after day.” (Ps 96:2b). This is the work
of evangelization. And this work is to be to “all the
earth.” (Ps 96:1b). This is the work of worldwide evangelization
God’s servants through whom God shows His glory (Is
49:3). This is a great privilege and also a great responsibility.
Thus we are commanded to “give to the Lord the glory
due his name.” (Ps 96:8a). Again, how does that happen?
By our worship filled with awe and by our work of worldwide
evangelization. “Bring gifts and enter his courts; bow
down to the Lord, splendid in holiness. Tremble before God,
all the earth; say among the nations: The Lord is king.”
Evangelization is awesome divine work, which we feeble humans
are called to do. Thus we need a strength that is outside
of ourselves. To do divine work, we need the very strength
of God. Now as the workers called to bring in the harvest,
we indeed have been given “the strength that comes from
God.” (2 Tim 1:8d).
does God’s strength give us? First, it is not “a
spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”
(2 Tim 1:7). We can boldly go forth, enduring any oppression
and suffering. We go forth in the power of God’s love,
having striven to control our human weaknesses that hamper
God’s work. We are not to “be ashamed of (our)
testimony to our Lord” (2 Tim 1:8a). We have been commissioned
by God, and we are going to do our part no matter what.
work, we come against the forces of darkness. Satan will not
easily give up his dominion. In fact, when we proclaim the
good news to people, “as soon as they hear, Satan comes
at once and takes away the word sown in them.” (Mk 4:15b).
And Satan does not only defend his dominion, he aggressively
counter-attacks. He can inflict physical injury (as in the
case of Job), he can bring forth occasions of persecution
and oppression, he can bring discouragement, strife, disunity,
and the like. To do the work of evangelization will be hard.
And so we are to “bear (our) share of hardship for the
gospel” (2 Tim 1:8c). We simply endure and persevere.
Now when we keep ourselves connected with God, through a life
of worship, prayer, obedience and holiness, and when we respond
with boldness to the commission to proclaim the good news
of salvation in Jesus, we will reap a mighty harvest. Indeed,
Jesus has said that the harvest is abundant, but only that
there was a need for more workers. If the workers are there,
then the harvest is also there ready to be reaped.
the word will produce fruit in the lives of those “who
hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty
and a hundredfold.” (Mk 4:20). As the word bears fruit
in the lives of people, they themselves become evangelizers.
Through their work, still more fruit is borne.
God raised us to be “a light to the nations, that (His)
salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6b).
We are God’s “servant .... through whom (He shows
His) glory.” (Is 49:3). We are the ones to “tell
God’s glory among the nations” (Ps 96:3a). We
look to the response of all peoples: “Give to the Lord,
you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and might;
give to the Lord the glory due his name!” (Ps 96:7-8a).
all this “with the strength that comes from God.”
(2 Tim 1:8d).
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Theme for 2011-Part14 [PDF]