COMFORT IN TRIALS
Preaching the Gospel in Season and out of Season
2 Tim. 4:2 Proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season; convict, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching.
The Life within Us Being a Gospel-preaching Life
The life within us is not merely a holy life, a loving life, and a meek life; it is also a gospel-preaching life. If we try to not preach the gospel, we will feel uneasy and unhappy. On the contrary, when we preach the gospel, we feel joyful and at ease because we are following the nature of our inner life. If we want to grow, we must allow the inner life to develop so that the characteristics and functions of this life can be freely manifested. Once we allow this life to develop and be expressed, we cannot help but preach the gospel.
Being Ready to preach the Gospel
in Season and out of Season
Paul told Timothy, “Proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season; convict, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). We should not say that it is winter and that we need to wait for spring to sow the seed. Rather, we are peculiar farmers; to us every day is for sowing the seed and for reaping the harvest. “In season” is when we have the opportunity, and “out of season” is when we do not have an opportunity. Whether or not we have the opportunity, we need to be ready. To “be ready” means being urgent, attentive, and on the alert. We can compare this kind of readiness to instant tea or coffee. Whenever we need some tea or coffee, it can be ready instantly. We need to be “instant” preachers, ready without need of further preparation. We should be ready at any time and in any place. We are ready at the supermarket, the bus station, the office, and the classroom. Every place is the right place, every time is the right time, and every person is the right person. We must be instant, ready, urgent, and attentive in season and out of season.
Having a Normal, Daily Gospel Living
to Bear Fruit Every Year
We should care only for today, not for tomorrow. Perhaps this evening we will meet one of our relatives. Then we should spend some time to take care of him. This is a normal, daily gospel living, not a movement or special activity. The Lord Jesus went to Samaria in a very normal way and waited at Jacob’s well for someone to draw water. Then He asked her for water, not in the way of preaching or of a movement but as part of His normal daily living. This daily living was His gospel preaching. Because He was living in this way, God sent the right people to Him, and He brought people to God. If we would all live in this way, God will send His chosen ones to us. Then every year we will reap fruit. (CWWL, 1973-1974, vol. 2, “The Normal Way of Fruit-bearing and Shepherding for the Building Up of the Church,” ch. 6)
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Open my eyes to see the gospel-preaching life within me that I will feel uneasy and unhappy without preaching the gospel. I am willing to obey the inner life, being ready at any time anywhere to seize the opportunity to preach the gospel. Oh, Lord, make me desperate for the gospel! I’m willing to preach the gospel. Make my life the gospel-preaching living that I may reap fruit every year.