Spotlight 13/2023: Serving the future today
Who is supposed to benefit from serving and reigning with Christ? This is the question District Apostle Tshitshi Tshisekedi from the Democratic Republic Congo asks in his article as he reflects on our 2023 motto and takes a look at the coming generations and what we are leaving our children.
If we serve and reign with Christ in the kingdom of peace then we will not only serve with Christ in the new creation that follows, but will also serve God. However, we are called to serve God within our means and in our present circumstances already today. By coming to divine service and serving one another as Christ taught us, we serve God (John 13: 14–15).
I would like to touch upon the service that we have been called to render to one another. Of all the people that live on this earth, it is perfectly understandable that we serve the people we know and who are close to us. It is possible that this is not necessarily motivated by love for God, but by affection for the person due to physical proximity, and these emotions can become confused.
There are also many people who have already preceded us into the beyond: there are those we know and many we do not know. We can also serve them.
And now we could ask ourselves this question: “Have we ever thought about another category of people, those yet to be born, of whom we do not know anything about yet?” Likely not. And yet they will come to live in this world and await the coming of the Lord.
Let us think of those human beings who will one day replace us on this earth should Christ not return in the meantime. Also in this context the biblical exhortation to keep watch (Matthew 25: 13) is extremely valuable. Even if we carry this knowledge within us that the Lord is coming back soon (Revelation 3: 1), this does not exclude us from serving others and inscribing into their hearts those things that are necessary for their salvation. And these they will, of course, find in the Church. This is a sort of heritage, both material and spiritual, which needs to be passed on so that those who will come after us can also benefit.
All our serving should focus on the return of Christ. If our actions are directed towards the coming of the Lord, then our investment in the work will be a lasting one. When God created man, He instructed him to tend and keep the earth (Genesis 2: 15). But because we have not taken this responsibility seriously, we are already suffering from the destruction of nature and there is a risk that future generations will suffer even more.
The church of Christ is most clearly perceptible where the Apostle ministry is active, where the dispensation of the sacraments to the living and the dead are dispensed, and where we can hear the proper proclamation of the word. And this is the Lord’s work of redemption, in which the bride of Christ is being prepared for the marriage in heaven, as we can read in chapter 6 of the Catechism, “The church of Jesus Christ”. I think we all have a responsibility to become involved and make good use of this work of redemption. This is not just a matter for the Apostles and ordained ministers, but for each of us as future members of the royal priesthood. However small our involvement in this work of redemption, it has a great impact on the lives of those who are part of it today and those who will be part of it in the future. Let us keep this in mind and be careful how we use the spiritual and material resources in all we do.
Photo: RD Congo Sud-Est