“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5) Paul continues to exhort Timothy to fulfill his ministry in the face of hard times, times when many might turn away from the truth. Though others might chase after new truths, Timothy and we are encouraged to keep our heads and endure hardship. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to “fix” the situation. Instead of being surprised and discouraged at difficult days and resistant people, we must learn to be at peace and persevere in our work. Paul also reminds us along with Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. We all need to be reminded not to become too inward looking so that we forget the people outside the fellowship of the church. These people desperately need to know Jesus and experience his dramatic deliverance and restoration. God wants us to continue to seek out the lost and minister the whole gospel, words and works, to them. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON EVANGELISM.
In my last blog session, I mentioned a new phrase that I’m coming to love: contemplative activism.
As I see it, Wimber was a “contemplative activist” long before anyone had popularized the phrase. Previously, I suggested that Wimber was a very effective evangelist, much like the mature man of God the apostle Paul talks about here in his letter of encouragement to Timothy. But know this. Wimber was not only an effective evangelist, he was also a powerful worshipper, one who loved to practice the fine art of resting in God’s presence, waiting on him even when the flesh was yelling to get on with the show.
The long-standing perseverance Paul refers to here in 2 Timothy 4:5 is not the “pull-yourself-up-by-the-boot-straps” kind of faith that someone develops on their own, or by reading a book or two on evangelism. The type of gut-wrenching perseverance Paul is looking for in his young son Timothy, is the unswerving, unwavering certainty of faith that comes only by standing for long periods in the fiery flames of God’s presence!
I’m reminded of a quote accredited to the great evangelist, Bill Bright, who once said about effective evangelism, “The best evangelist is one who first talks to God about men before he goes and talks to men about God.” The best evangelism is birthed out of the passions of God’s own heart for the lost, not our flesh-driven desire to do something nice for the Almighty!
After nearly thirty years in the pastoral ministry, I’ve learned that it’s never adequate to stand in my own strength. Doing kingdom ministry, entering into the work that Jesus commissions his followers to do, is not an easy task. Following the Master into his work can actually kill you. Just look at Jesus. Only three years into the project, and some who once appreciated him, hanging on every word, turned on him and allowed him to be hung on a cross!
So when Paul encourages his young son in the Lord to “keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry,” I’m certain that this was Paul’s way of saying to Tim, “Hey, it’s a jungle out there, boy. Get your head screwed on straight and the only way you can do that is to sit in God’s presence as much as you can!”
That way, when we go out into the world to discharge all the duties of the ministry, we’re not giving away our stuff, but we’re distributing gems of wisdom and pearls of life that have been given to us by the Spirit, as we’ve lingered in the sweet presence of the Lord.
Enough talk, already.
Gotta go be contemplative, sitting in God’s presence for a good piece of time before I go out later today to be the activist Jesus is asking me to be!
Jesus, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and if I try to do the work of an evangelist out of my own strength, I’m doomed. But if I can learn the unforced rhythms of grace, where I come into your presence and then go out into the world, I know this whole thing of ministry will go much better for me. Holy Spirit, come. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- Am I trying to discharge the duties of my ministry out of my own strength?
- Am I wearing out under those pressures because I’m talking to men about God before I’m taking time to talk to God about men?
- What needs to change in my schedule so that I become the contemplative activist rather than the activist who occasionally is contemplative?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
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