Spotlight 09/2018: Leave it to God, as Paul did

They were irritating, they deceived him, and abandoned him … Paul’s companions were not always the best of co-workers. Yet he remained faithful to God and his neighbour. “Let us learn from Paul,” District Apostle Joseph Opemba Ekhuya from Kenya says.

Before Apostle Paul became the greatest missionary, he zealously persecuted the Christians. He was present at the stoning of Stephen, giving approval, and guarding the clothes of the murderers. But when he met Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus on a similar murderous mission, he became a completely changed man. Now he was made to suffer persecution and rejection that was meant to discourage him, but he remained faithful to his calling, and finally we see him writing these beautiful words in his farewell message to Timothy: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4: 6–7).

From this farewell message of Apostle Paul to Timothy we can conclude that faithfulness also means remaining faithful to those whom Christ has entrusted to lead us, while at the same time enduring the unusual behaviour of those whom Christ has positioned by us as our neighbour (1 John 4: 20–21). Sometimes the neighbour can be very irritating and could even cause harm to us. We learn from Apostle Paul that we should always leave the final judgement up to God. In this farewell message to Timothy, Paul states that he suffered at the hands of his contemporaries. He writes that Demas was attracted to the pleasures of the world and forsook him. Other co-workers forsook him when he had to defend himself before the authorities. But it was Alexander the coppersmith who did him the most harm (2 Timothy 4: 9–16).

In all this, the Apostle did not lose focus. That also is part of keeping faith. It means he was ready to share in the suffering of Christ. And the outcome is certain as he writes in 2 Timothy 4: 8: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Let us learn from Apostle Paul.

Photo: NAC East Africa

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Joseph Opemba Ekhuya