Two Things Needed in Every Church, and in Every Person in Church
Devotional Thought of the Day:
19 My friends, if any of you wander away from the truth and another one brings you back again, 20 remember this: whoever turns a sinner back from the wrong way will save that sinner’s soul from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. James 5:19-20 (TEV)
28 “Now, what do you think? There was once a man who had two sons. He went to the older one and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 ‘I don’t want to,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. ‘Yes, sir,’ he answered, but he did not go. 31 Which one of the two did what his father wanted?” “The older one,” they answered. So Jesus said to them, “I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you. Matthew 21:28-31 (TEV)
909 You say that you want to be an apostle of Christ. I’m very glad to hear it. I pray that God may give you perseverance. Remember that from our mouths, from our thoughts, from our hearts, should issue only divine motives, of hunger for souls, of themes that lead us one way or another to God—or at least, that do not take us away from him. (1)
If I could give a gift to every pastor, to every seminarian, to every Sunday School Teacher, to every person struggling to make it to church on Sunday, it wouldn’t be more money, or more skill, or even more knowledge of doctrine. It wouldn’t be to give them a fun and happy church, where everyone’s problems are solved.
Two tiny, invisible things I would give them. Two things that are born from… well, I’ll get to that in a moment.
The two things are this. Desire to minister and Perseverance.
Paul talks about this desire to young Timothy, as part of the description of a bishop, a pastor. Someone who covets the role, who can’t tink of doing anything else, being anything else. I believe this is true for any role in the church as well. It’s not about the title, it is about the work.
The other thing is perseverance, To persevere through a learning curve (and to never forget you haven’t made it to the top) Perseverance with our own mistakes, even our feeling that we are beyond our own capabilities, perseverance fueled by a desire to realize that our work will save a sinners soul from death.
That is what we are about, whether it is the elder visiting the shut-in, the ladies preparing the elements for the Lord’s supper with great care, the Sunday School teacher, preparing hard, throwing everything into their ministry, and mostly praying harder than anything else.
For the desire, and the will that perseveres is not earthly, it is not common, It comes from the highest heaven, it is the transformation that God does in our lives. We are the son who says no to our Father, then cannot but help completing the task. We are compelled as St. Paul will tell young Timothy.
We desire and persevere against what is natural for us, because the grace of God is so overpowering.
That is why tax collector, a bunch of untrained fisherman, and a few others can change their world, even facing death as it happens. It is why those who have gone before us have done amazing things, witnessing the faithfulness of God. it is why a bread baker in a monastery can write one of the foremost books about spiritual life.
Desire and perseverance, two of the characteristics we see in Christ Jesus. That is where we get it from, an alien
Two things that come to us, as we abide in Christ Jesus…. and desire to see sins covered, and souls saved from death… and we cannot help but be driven to see our Father’s work done.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3210-3214). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.