Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4: 2

I see this expression, “preach the word” and I think of standing before crowds. I remember the strong language and the well-crafted phrases of some preachers from some of the sermons that I have heard. Some of us have done this type of communicating, most of us have not. Although Paul was writing to Timothy, who would lead a church and who certainly would do large group teaching, that form of teaching would not be the majority of what he would engage in. The activity that we think of as traditional preaching is important in the gathering of the church, but it is not God’s primary focus for any of us. God sends every one of His people into daily life with the mission, the purpose, to share His Truth; I think that this is what Paul actually meant. As we are close to Christ, we are better able to let Him speak through our lives. Sometimes we are given the chance to talk about the truths of the bible; sometimes we are in a place where doing something for someone shows God’s face to that person; and at other times, an understanding hug or a compassionate touch meets the need of the moment. These are the seasons of life; some of them are determined by our mental or emotional state and some are defined by the circumstances and situations that others are encountering.

As we open our lives and our hearts to God and as we allow the Lord to work in us and through us, this is a process where our openness or our lack of it makes all of the difference, we will be ready, prepared and intuitively understanding of what is needed by the people in our lives. Christ will provide the words and the actions that will communicate the truth that is needed at the moment. Paul’s final comment is often the hardest for me to grasp, for he speaks about patience, he actually says, “complete patience”. I think that he is telling me that I don’t have to control the outcome; in fact, I don’t get to control it. That is another arena where the Lord is in charge. We need to keep loving people, caring for their needs, and telling them the truth as God reveals it regardless of the immediate outcome.

The response of others to God’s love as we attempt to express it should not determine our desire to continue preaching it. If people reject what we have to say, push us away, or say yes but live no; regardless, God wants us to continue to see that person through His eyes; He wants us to show them His face, His love, and His way to salvation. As people see God, they learn; as people learn, they grow in understanding of Him; and as they grow in understanding, their eyes are opened to Christ’s love for them. Our calling, that is our mission, is to be ready, be available, and be confident in sharing Christ through word and through actions this day.