Perhaps you have witnessed the violent and profane way in which protestors have demeaned the faith, our Lord Jesus, and the Bible. The hatred spewed toward those who align themselves with scripture is escalating and violence is beginning to be directed toward those who stand for Christ. Atop this distress and uncertainty, we face the continual bombardment of COVID issues, both within and without the church. If ever the church in America, and in particular the leadership of the church, faced a bewildering uncertainty, it is our time.
Many are struggling and contemplating the removal of themselves from ministry positions. Pastors are on the verge of quitting. In fact, Thom Ranier states the vast majority of the pastors with whom their organization interacts are seriously considering quitting the ministry. If you are on the cusp of throwing in the towel, take a deep breath and consider the following. Our God was not caught off guard when COVID erupted nor when He determined you would live and be called to ministry during this season. He knew last year before a pandemic hit the nation and racial strife rose to prominence that we would be where we are. And still, He called you and placed you in ministry.
Equally important, the Father reached into every life, even if you are not perusing a specific area of credentialed ministry, and selected you for “such a time as this.” He entrusted you with the riches of His grace to be a light in a dark place. No time in recent history calls for more light than the one in which we live. Don’t give up and slink away into hiding. Stand strong for Jesus in our troubled day.
Paul gives us encouragement. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (1 Timothy 1:12). The word “counted” lets us know God pondered all the possibilities and took a course of action based on all the issues at stake. In other words, God knew all that was going to transpire in 2020 and thought enough of you to cause you to be alive during this season. What’s more, He thought it through and called you to be His voice, His envoy, during these trying days.
What can we in the church do in such perilous times? How can we press forward and become “counter-culture?”
Right out of the chute, we can pray. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1). The first thing we must do is pray. Pray for pastors, pray for members. Pray for the lost, pray for the saved. Pray for the peaceful, pray for the protestors. Prayer must become the predominate factor in our lives if we are to remain solid in our calling as believers.
Second, we must be people of praise. “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). Paul used praise language. Lifting one’s hands toward God is one of the biblical means of offering praise to God (Psalm 63:4). In lifting our hands in praise, we are signaling surrender to God, to His calling and Lordship in our life. It positions us in a place where we can receive the fresh infilling of His Spirit.
Third, and this is vital, we must practice our faith in our current evil culture. We are called to live modest and holy lives, making the emphasis of our entire personality a spirit of submission to God and pursuit of His holiness (1 Timothy 2:9-14).
This is our calling, our task. God, seeing the day in which we live, decided to place us in this precise time and space. Had we not been capable of bearing His image in our present evil time, He would have caused us to live in another generation. However, He, in His infinite wisdom, saw that you and I could be the bearer of His glory in today’s world. Let’s seek to be people of prayer, praise, and practice and put on display His confidence in us!