Many of us have been following one of the ‘Six Steps’ courses in our Fellowship Groups, equipping us to serve others through prayerfully speaking God’s word to ourselves, to one another and to those who are not yet Christians. This is now the sixth ‘Thought for the Week’ on this theme of being ‘equipped’, ‘ready’ or ‘prepared’ – and the last for the time being.
There is one final “be prepared” I would like to comment on, which is Paul’s instruction to his younger friend Timothy: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage…” (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV). “Be prepared” here is literally “stand by” or “be on hand”, bringing to mind the image of a soldier on duty, ready for action at any time.
We won’t all be in gospel ministry in the same way that Paul and Timothy were. However, there is still a constant need for the word to be preached (the word of the gospel): it must be preached “in season and out of season” – whether the preacher feels like preaching or not, and whether the hearers feel like hearing or not! There is never a closed season for the gospel. We have been learning from Romans that everyone needs to hear the gospel. To this we might usefully add the word “always”: everyone always needs to hear the gospel. It is our constant and universal need.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)