THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2015
SUFFERING AS BLESSING
2 Corinthians 1:1-7
you imagine today’s preachers of the gospel of prosperity
saying that you are blessed when you are poor (in spirit),
mourn, hunger and thirst (for righteousness), are persecuted,
are insulted (Mt 5:3-12)? They know what people want and not
want to hear. People just want the good things, the blessings.
They fail to see that in the ways of God, it is a blessing
to suffer for the cause of Christ.
Jesus already warned us that if the world hated him, it will
also hate us. The world persecuted and killed him. We can
expect no less. Persecution is a sign of our following closely
our Lord. “Blessed are you when they insult you and
persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely
because of me.” (Mt 5:11).
we are in good company, with those who witnessed to Jesus
and suffered the consequences. “Thus they persecuted
the prophets who were before you.” (Mt 5:12b). We too
witness with our very lives and march with the saints.
we become assured of our eternal reward. The gospel of prosperity
will not bring us to heaven. On the contrary. We seek blessings
now only to miss out on the ultimate blessing. Better to “miss
out” on the blessings now (but remember we are blessed)
but have it all at the end of time. “Rejoice and be
glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” (Mt
But will not suffering and affliction discourage us in living
our lives for Jesus? On the contrary. Affliction in fact opens
us up to the grace of God, “the Father of compassion
and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every
affliction” (2 Cor 1:3b-4a).
all need encouragement. But how would you like to be encouraged
not just by brethren but by God Himself? Then suffer more!
Suffering for Christ aligns us with Jesus and his mission.
So to keep us going, and even going further and deeper, God
encourages us. “For as Christ’s sufferings overflow
to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.”
(2 Cor 1:5). Want to hear the Father cheering His sons and
daughters on? Persevere, endure and embrace suffering, for
“as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the
encouragement.” (2 Cor 1:7b).
The more we suffer and the greater our desperation, the more
we look to Jesus, do we not? We know he cares, we know he
will help us out. “I sought the Lord, and he answered
me, delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps 34:5).
so, as we live and work in a valley of tears, as we are assaulted
by the forces of the enemy, we look at Jesus. “Look
to him and be radiant, and your faces may not blush for shame.”
(Ps 34:6). We look at Jesus and give him the worship that
is his due, and then confident that he looks to us and looks
after us, we look to and help the poor. “My soul will
glory in the Lord; let the poor hear and be glad.” (Ps