Among the burning questions I had when taking over the mantle of leadership was, “will I have to preach?”
I can confidently make a conclusion, it is not I alone who has had to battle with such a question. Many believers have the fear to think if they got too deep into the word of God, and study the scriptures with a genuine heart of seeking and knowing God, they might end up a preacher. Maybe, a pastor in the streets or in a bus. Paralyzed, they close the Holy Book.
That, nonetheless, is easy to address, maybe not with an impressive dexterity.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV, we read “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, [thoroughly] equipped for every good work.”
Thoroughly equipped for every good work! Meaning, it is through the study of scripture and applying the laws and decrees through the power of the Holy Spirit, that you can be a great husband and father, you can be the best in your science class, compete effectively as an athlete, perform well in your studies, and be light of the world and salt of the earth. For it teaches and rebukes, it trains and corrects, it changes you from the inside out. So, wherever you are, do you want to perform your God given task well? Read the scriptures, seek God, and allow Him to work His will in you.
However, the question or thought that hangs loose in many believers mind is whether preaching is a privilege or a responsibility. Paul’s charge to his spiritual son was, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season… (2 Tim 4:2)” The concern here is whether everyone has taken it as their responsibility or whether some have dismissed it as a privilege endowed on a few individuals.
Let us see what Paul says about that!
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Verse 2, “… that was given to me for you,” and verse 5, “which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.”
Here Paul clearly mentions that the sole reason, the primary mandate of the revelation landing on him, is so that he can disseminate it to the Gentiles, now those in Ephesus. It was not just for him and his ego. It was for someone else. Also, he again brings out the aspect of him being singled out among all people and all other generations that he alone is to receive the revelation of the mystery. Three times in this passage (verse 3, 4, 6) Paul repeated that he had been given the charge to reveal the mystery that was kept hidden in other generations.
And what is this mystery?
The mystery is that through the gospel – the coming of Jesus Christ – the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body; and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. [Israel here denotes the Jews whereas the Gentiles are the non-Jews, which is you and I.] We who were not a people, are now a chosen people. He chose us first. He loved us first. We who had no hope, have the hope of eternal life and sanctification in the Lamb of Judah through redemption.
Why now? Why Him? Doesn’t this clearly show preaching, sharing the good news, teaching: is a responsibility to which each and every believer, young or old, mature or new to the faith, rich or poor, black or white, have been called to carry out with vigor and joy in sharing Christ and making disciples with their neighbors in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth?
Let us see whether we can be able to cement this view by asking why this mystery was not supposed to be hidden any longer from people. In an earlier post, answering a question raised by a friend on Facebook, I touch on it a little deeper. In verse 6 we see that the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel. This then (at that time) was a misnomer. It did break the cultural norm, it shattered a rotten societal foundation where Gentiles and dogs were ranked in the same caliber. Here Jesus, through His Spirit to Paul mentions that the gospel NOW is also inclusive with equal measure, proportions or rights, to the Gentiles as it is to the Jews.
That is the reason it should no longer be hidden from people. The Gentiles can now also, approach the Throne of God, the throne of grace with boldness and in Faith to receive mercy and find grace to help them (us) in their (our) time of need.
Rejoice. Rejoice. Freedom. Freedom.
Now, my friend, what if Paul had not taken such a gift of God, him being chosen to receive the revelation of such a mystery, as a responsibility? What if it was just a privilege, would he be obliged to share it, to suffer for it, to die for it? He takes it up as a responsibility, that in all the earth filled with all the wise men, the knowledgeable clergy, God chose him.
So, Mr. Chelal, how about you? Do you preach? How have you gone about it? Privilege or responsibility?
Good question. I have preached, shared the word, and taught it, but in subtle measures, in low volume tones, wrapped in a joke, in a shared passion like football, in a common language like politics. Nothing wrong with that. But now with my eyes opened, I see I have been doing it as a privilege and not a responsibility.
Why me Lord? Why did you choose me? It is a responsibility. To Him who [much] is given, [much] is required. I should take it on, embrace it and engage the culture as an ambassador of my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
O believer, how about you? What’s the purpose of your calling? Of your ministry? Your gift and talents? Have you taken it just as a privilege or burdened it as a responsibility to know Christ and make him known?
Shout it out from the roof top.
Get together into groups, as twos and threes, and go out to visit a brother, encourage a sister, and pray for the one who is outside of the faith. I understand it is not one of the very enticing of plots. It cannot be compared to swimming, sleepover, or playing FIFA. It is one people would not turn up in large numbers ready to have beautiful feet. But it is a reminder that hey, without sharing the gospel, teaching the scriptures, discipling the believers, there can be no FIFA, swimming and sleep over buddies who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. There can be no fellowship, no breaking of bread, no accountability, no togetherness in prayer, there can be no meaningful relationships, there can be no hope and there can be no Christ at the center of that very thing and calling you have been bestowed with. It starts with this: depositing value by sharing the love and redeeming grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Write. Teach. Dance. Play ball. Play FIFA. Encourage. Be generous. Read. Offer your professional services in excellence. Swim. Paint. Sing. Create. And as you do all that, remember to preach the unsearchable riches found in Christ so that all can grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
Let me know your thoughts and take on this; privilege or responsibility?