Submitted by Jan on Tue, 10/09/2013 – 11:10
Year C (2012-2013)
Bible Book: Jeremiah / Jeremia
Verse: 11 – 12
The text from Jeremiah 4 paints a gloomy picture, while the one from Luke 15:10 paints an atmosphere of joy…the former looks at the impact of sin and the latter looks at the “remedy” for sin which we call salvation.
We often fall into sin of disobedience and doubt in our walk with the Lord Jesus. He knows we are mortal and He does not want to load that on us. Simply pointing it out becomes a reminder to us that we indeed need His constant guidance, direction and love. These three words state clearly what we as the body of Christ need, in the face of HIV and AIDS – We need guidance, direction and love.
Guidance is demonstrated by those who have been equipped to lead others in the ways God’s people should go. The text in 1 Timothy 1 teaches us to be grateful when we realize that we have been endowed with a specific skill, role or ability in ministering to God’s people. Seize the opportunity! Be grateful for it and make good use of it, because great is your reward in heaven. Performing this role in the body of Christ in the HIV epidemic includes disseminating information on issues pertaining to the pandemic; it includes giving guidance about positive attitudes that will eliminate stigma and discrimination based on the HIV status of congregants;Yes, even outside the church we ought to deal with stigma and discrimination. This we do not only need to teach, but we also need to demonstrate it in practical ways.
Direction can only be given by one who is informed, or who has walked the way before. Ministry to the body of Christ is so real when a minister says “come let us walk this way”..or says, “thus says the Lord”. Paul says in one of his epistles “Follow me as I follow Christ”;. Giving direction means taking responsibility for showing the flock the way they should go. This comes from a commitment to serve God’s people; a realization that we are God’s workmanship created for good works. In Luke 15, we see a shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to go and look for just one lost one. This demonstrates care and compassion for each and every soul that is under our care. You are not just giving direction from a hollow set-up but from an attitude of love!
Love for God and His people. Love for the affected and infected – that means for all of us! It is the love of God that compels us. His love is demonstrated to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us… so that we may live. Look at the picture portrayed in Jeremiah 4… all gloomy! But because of God’s love for me and you, He gives us his guidance so that we are restored to fellowship with Him. In this restored fellowship we have direction on how we live lives that are worthy of our callings.
Serve God’s people; love God’s people. It is the responsibility of everyone that has said “yes” to the message of salvation; everyone who calls Jesus ‘Lord’, to demonstrate the love of God to another human being.
To think about: If I know I have been called to minister to the body of Christ, have I remained focused on my mission?
Written by: Pastor Godfrey Mhlanga;Director, ACET [Aids Care Education Training] Zimbabwe. Trained as a ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator.
Author: Mhlanga, G (Past)