It has been an extremely long time since I last wrote to this BLOG. I have made excuses saying that I didn’t have time for various reasons, mostly centering on our move into our new house. But, those were just excuses. Really, I was just discouraged that I was taking the time and effort, and I was not getting much response back. The problem with that is that I feel the Lord wants me to share information from time to time in this forum. If I never get any response back, I will have still done what He wants me to do.
I was praying for some friends of mine who are in the ministry, when the Lord brought to mind the following scripture:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV)
Now this scripture is not about ministers in general – it is specifically about Jesus. In fact, in Luke ch 4, Jesus reads this scripture in the synagogue, and says, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (v. 21). The point is, as ministers of the Gospel, we are all called to represent Christ to the world around us. I say “ministers of the Gospel” instead of “preachers” because, as Christians, we are all ministers of the Gospel. When the world sees us, they need to see Jesus. In the famous writing, St Patrick’s Breastplate says, “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.” That should be our ultimate goal – that people see the heart of our savior in each and every one of us through each and every one of our actions.
We all have a certain set of responsibilities as laid out in the above scripture:
- To preach good news to the poor
- To bind up the brokenhearted
- To proclaim freedom for the captives
- To proclaim release from darkness for the prisoners
- To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
- To proclaim the day of vengeance of our God
- To comfort all who mourn
- To provide for those who grieve – to give them beauty instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
I remember a preacher once saying “If you’re not Jesus to your world, then who will be?” The point being, we can’t wait for someone else to take on the jobs listed above, we have to do it. I like that this scripture tells us to proclaim these things, not to do them. I can see the headline “Huge Prison Break Lead By Christian Group.” After we proclaim these things, and give it to those in need, they must take it from us. Then it is between them and God. We are merely their guide. But after they accept what He has for them, then that final part of the scripture comes into play: “They will be called oaks of righteousness.”