Time well invested

Being a Christian is a challenge—even nowadays, or perhaps especially nowadays. In order to accomplish this mission one of the things we need is some rest. Following is a recipe that Jesus gave His disciples.

“Everyone baptised with water is called upon to proclaim the gospel and to serve the Lord.” This is what Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider reminded the brothers and sisters in Wuppertal (Germany) of in a divine service on 19 March 2017. “Moreover, every person who has been sealed with the Holy Spirit has been chosen for a special service, namely to serve Jesus Christ as a priest in the thousand-year kingdom of peace.”

“We have all received a commission from the Lord Jesus,” the Chief Apostle stated. “He expects us to follow and serve Him, to tell others about His gifts, and to proclaim His name. It is a gigantic task,” he said, “one we definitely need more strength for.”

Food and rest are needed to build up strength

“We need some peace and quiet, time to reflect, and healthy food for this,” the Chief Apostle said with reference to the Bible text which the service was based on: “Then the Apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6: 30–31).

„“What did the disciples do?” the Chief Apostle asked and explained the context the Bible text was taken from, namely the feeding of the five thousand. “They spoke with Jesus and ate with Him.”

Speaking with God: time for prayer

“Let us take time to speak with God. This is not a question of our normal daily prayers,” he said. “What I mean are our very personal and intimate conversations with God, in which we do not pray for our neighbour but talk to God about our soul and our salvation. This is essential!”

This includes questions we should ask of God. “How do you see me? How are things with me? What do you expect from me?” And it includes pleas: “These are moments of peace and quiet in which we struggle with God: Lord, I want to be saved, I want to reach the goal! You must help me!”

Feeding the soul: time for divine service

“This is often a problem today. There is so much going on in our lives that we cannot make full use of the divine services any more.” This does not always depend on ourselves, he said. But everybody can do something in order to derive more strength from the sermon, namely by preparing for the services and following up on them.

“Reading in the Bible is part of the preparation for a divine service,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. “Take the time to read an entire passage or even a whole chapter, and think about what it means?”

“Let us follow up on the divine service,” he added. “In conversations at home we can pick up on a thought and reflect on our current circumstances in the light of the Holy Spirit and from the perspective of our faith. It helps.”

Fostering communication: making time for a family visit

“Sometimes I get the impression that people don’t want their Priest to come and visit them. They worry that he will want to control their lives. – Those are old stories,” the Chief Apostle said and explained how he understands this offer today. “Why don’t you just enjoy the opportunity to sit down with your Priest and have a personal conversation with him about God, your faith, your future, and your thoughts and feelings. Don’t begrudge yourself the benefit of a prayer just for you.”

“We don’t have any time.” This is often the reaction, the Chief Apostle said. “Really? Are we not deceiving ourselves?” the Chief Apostle asked. “When your favourite football team plays you have time to watch the game. When I think about how much time people spend on the computer or in social media …” he continued, adding: “I have nothing against it, but I notice that the issue here is more a lack of interest than a lack of time.”

Conclusion: Jesus calls upon us to serve Him and to proclaim the gospel. In order to be able to fulfill this mission properly, it will be helpful if we devote more time to our prayers, the divine services, and speaking about spiritual matters. “That is the source of strength. And God will give His blessing.”

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Andreas Rother
Germany, Divine service