A theme interpretation written for the 2015 Mission Offering.
Amidst the busyness of life, it’s important to stay focused. Hardships, responsibilities, opportunities, short-comings, and “nay sayers” can all take our attention away from what is most important.
Challenges and obstacles are also a regular part of life for our partners around the globe. Facing daily persecution, violence, and limitations, their efforts to show love to God and neighbor is challenged regularly. Whether completing a project or staying dedicated to a mission, being faithful to what God has called us requires perseverance.
Staying focused in ministry has been a challenge since the very beginning of the church. In Paul’s words to the Philippians, he acknowledged their disappointments and wounds. Having experienced many challenges himself, Paul understood what it meant to come up short of a goal. However, while sitting in jail, Paul recognized the Philippians as a precious gift. In spite of the hardships experienced by Paul and the church of Philippi, Paul reminded them of what is most important: “that Christ is proclaimed in every way” (1:18). Despite the persecutions they had encountered, Paul reminded them not to worry about people and factors beyond their control.
The declaration and power of the gospel is not hindered by the short-coming of humanity. We can choose to obsess about the vain preachers or the peddlers of prosperity, or we can choose to celebrate the places where Jesus is proclaimed in word and action. God alone is able and worthy to judge the minds and hearts of each person. As the body of Christ, our first responsibility is to celebrate in the proclamation of Jesus’ name.
The ministry of Jesus and power of God in the world is not dampened by our failures either. If we ever lose focus or stumble, God’s love and grace remain present. If the good news of Jesus is proclaimed in our words and actions, there is reason for celebration through any season.
While it may seem that our own limitations or external challenges prevent us from celebrating the work of God, we can find comfort and joy each day if the name of Jesus is proclaimed. It is in witnessing this proclamation in every way that we have reason to rejoice in Christ.
Written by Matt DeBall, coordinator of Donor Communications. Find a full order of service written by Ken Gibble for the 2015 Mission Offering (suggested date Sept. 20) at www.brethren.org/missionoffering or support the Church of the Brethren today at www.brethren.org/give .
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