FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
HOLY WITNESSES ON MISSION - 2
We are called to be holy, to be witnesses, and to go on mission.
If we respond to this call seriously, we can expect to be
oppressed and persecuted.
be holy is to be set apart. For one set apart, “his
life is not like that of others, and different are his ways.”
(Wis 2:15). He is in the world but is not of it. He lives
counter-culturally. Such ways invite opposition and persecution.
“Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he
is annoying to us” (Wis 2:12a). Why is he annoying to
them? Because “he opposes our actions, reproaches us
for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations
of our training.” (Wis 2:12b). His actions are in direct
contrast and opposition to theirs, his righteousness is a
reproach to their transgressions, and his ways lay a charge
to their violations of God’s laws. “To us he is
the censure of our thoughts” (Wis 2:14a). He brings
judgment upon them. “He judges us debased” (Wis
it is the same thing for a witness. Jesus
says, “The world .... hates me, because I testify to
it that its works are evil.” (Jn 7:7). To be a witness
to Christ, to testify to what is right in the Lord, is to
one sent on mission can expect the same.
Jesus says of God, “‘I am from him, and he sent
me.’ So they tried to arrest him” (Jn 7:29-30a).
And we know what they ultimately did to Jesus. “With
violence and torture let us put him to the test .... Let us
condemn him to a shameful death” (Wis 2:19a,20a).
Why is such the case? Why is such the reaction and action
of the world? It is the sinful evil life that keeps people
from the truth and beauty of God’s ways, “for
their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the hidden
counsels of God” (Wis 2:21b-22a). They could not see
beyond the pleasures of the present. They did not see the
need for a life of holiness, as they did not “count
on a recompense for holiness” (Wis 2:22b). They did
not look to life hereafter, as they could not “discern
the innocent souls’ reward.” (Wis 2:22c).
they looked to was the world’s wisdom. In this they
are “not thinking rightly” (Wis 2:1a). Two common
examples of worldly wisdom are the following:
Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die.
“For our lifetime is the passing of a shadow; and
our dying cannot be deferred .... Come, therefore, let us
enjoy the good things that are here” (Wis 2:5a,6a).
This attitude leads to wanton extravagance. “Let us
have our fill of costly wine and perfumes, .... Let no meadow
be free from our wantonness” (Wis 2:7a,9a).
is right. “But let our strength be our norm of
righteousness” (Wis 2:11a).
The Bible pronounces judgment. “These were their thoughts,
but they erred” (Wis 2:21a).
Such erroneous attitudes lead to oppression of those who are
righteous and those who are poor. Such is the case with many
wealthy individuals and western nations today. They oppress
the righteous because the latter’s ways bring judgment
on their wanton living, and they oppress the poor by their
unjust use of the world’s wealth. “Let us oppress
the righteous poor” (Wis 2:10a).
disdains weakness, as those with power claim that “weakness
proves itself useless.” (Wis 2:11b). Wealth disdains
poverty. Sinfulness disdains righteousness.
So those who strive for holiness and to witness by such holiness
to an unrighteous world need to do mission--to share
Christ so that the world would meet Christ,
and start to live Christ. They need to engage
the world, to meet it headlong. When they do, they can expect
oppression and persecution to intensify even more. But because
they are sent by God, they can be bold and confident. They
know that “the Lord’s face is against evildoers”
(Ps 34:17a). They can always cry out to Him for help. “The
righteous cry out, the Lord hears and he rescues them from
all their afflictions.” (Ps 34:18). Wow! That is quite
an assurance! “Many are the troubles of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Ps 34:20).
who oppress us do not have a chance, as “those who hate
the righteous are condemned” (Ps 34:22b). We have God
on our side. He ensures a wonderful end for us. “The
Lord is the redeemer of the souls of his servants; and none
are condemned who take refuge in him.” (Ps 34:23).
are we empowered to witness. We are holy witnesses out on
mission. We are to be saints, martyrs and warriors.