Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2
“Be prepared!” It is an exhortation heard from scoutmasters and apostles alike. As if things were not challenging enough for pastors and church leaders in the midst of a global pandemic, the recent racial unrest has called on the church to be careful to both listen and speak. There are people in our churches and communities who have felt marginalized or much worse, oppressed. The church is there to listen to the wounded among us and offer them the healing of the Gospel.
While we are not always fully prepared for the crises that we face, we can be prepared to speak. J.N.D. Kelly notes that the expression, “in season and out of season” can have a military connotation to be at one’s post. He suggests it is best translated “to stand by” or “be at hand.” Like Peter’s charge to “always be prepared to give an answer.” We encounter many in our daily lives who have been wounded by this sinful, broken world. It is good for us to time to listen to them and show them Christ’s compassion.
Then comes time to speak. A Roman centurion came to Jesus seeking healing for his servant. He asked Jesus to “just say the word.” The Church is a place where the hurting, the lonely, the depressed and oppressed, the least and the lowest, the forgotten and the forsaken come to encounter the Savior of the nations in His Word. We may not have all of the answers for this complicated time, but we still have the Word and that is what we are called to proclaim, in season and out of season.
Prayer – Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet You own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan