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(Part 12)


October 6, 2013

Today’s readings:
Habakkuk 1:2-3,2:2-4
2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Luke 17:5-10

Today’s two readings relate to and correlate our themes for this year and next, providing continuity.

Jesus says, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Lk 17:6). That is the faith that works wonders, our theme for 2013. On the other hand, our theme for 2014, Empowered to Witness, is taken from part of today’s reading from 2 Timothy 1. God has given us a spirit of power in order to witness to the gospel (2 Tm 1:7-8). We look to wonders as we do the work of the New Evangelization, and such wonders happen because we are witnesses who have been empowered.

For us to look to wonders in our work, and to being empowered witnesses, we must do a number of things.

First, take on the vision that the Lord has given us. Without vision, a people perish. Without vision, we can never get to where God wants to bring us. We must know that we are in the end times, and now is the appointed time for a rapid and massive work of evangelization. “For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint.” (Hab 2:3a).

God’s people are being sent to be witnesses to the ends of the earth, to proclaim the gospel to all the nations. This year God tells us about faith that works wonders. Next year God points us to empowerment to witness. Do we believe what God is telling us? “Look over the nations and see! Be utterly amazed! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe, were it told.” (Hab 1:5). But we have already been told; we are to BE.LI.EV.E! We are privileged that in our days we will be instruments for bringing the gospel to the nations. Yes, we must be utterly amazed!

Second, simply obey what God is telling us. We must have the attitude of a servant. We simply do what our Master tells us to do. Do we think God owes us a favor for our responding to His call? Would we expect God to serve us (Lk 17:7)? No, we are the ones to serve God, which is our priority, even before looking to our own needs (Lk 17:8). And when we serve Him, do we look to His being grateful to us? No, for we are only doing our duty (Lk 17:10). God gives us a great privilege, even as He knows that many times we will be the obstacles to His work.

Third, “stir into flame the gift of God that you have” (2 Tm 1:6). God provides the grace and the power, but we are the ones to take hold of what God provides, we are the ones to be excited about the vision, we are the ones to confidently and faithfully go forth and act on what God has provided us. We are not to be cowards, nor be ashamed of our testimony to our Lord (2 Tm 1:7a,8a); rather, we boldly go forth, leaning on “the strength that comes from God,” and bearing our “share of hardship for the gospel” (2 Tm 1:8c).

These are very exciting times. We are fortunate to be alive, and to be used as God’s instruments for the work of the New Evangelization. Make sure you do not get left out.

“Write down the vision” (Hab 2:2b). Write it in your hearts. Know it inside-out and upside-down. Ask the Lord to impress it upon your day-to-day consciousness. “If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” (Hab 2:3b).

“Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me” (2 Tm 1:13a). I have repeated God’s call often enough. Let it sink deep. Let it determine how you are to live your life, with the Lord’s priorities first and foremost.

“Guard this rich trust with the help of the holy Spirit that dwells within us.” (2 Tm 1:14). You have been entrusted with a treasure. You are a steward of the mysteries of God. You are bearer of the good news of salvation in Jesus. Guard what God has given you with your life. Use what God has given you to witness in the power of His Spirit, and to continue to do wonders in faith.

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