This morning, Paul is finishing up his final instructions to Timothy. If Timothy was anything like most of us, he was only half listening as someone else told him what to do so it's a good thing Paul made him a list. I don't know about you, but I'm not huge on being told what to do. Maybe there are some authority issues after all. But that's ok, I do what I have to do to stay out of trouble...most of the time.
Here's what Paul said to Timothy: "I give you this charge; Preach the Word; Be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction...keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." Come on Paul, that sounds really boring.
But here's the cool thing, Paul told Timothy "what" he needed to do, but he didn't tell him "how" to do it! I notice stuff like that. Maybe the rebel in me just looks for those little loopholes, I don't know, but I sure do love it when I find one. The "what" that I've been told to do, as a United Methodist pastor, is to go out and make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. But nobody told me "how"! That is so cool. (that's me rubbing my hands together and grinning)
I don't have a problem being told what to do, I really don't, so long as I'm not also told how to do it. I think it's that whole right brain/left brain thing going again. I like to have a little creative license for the things I've been asked to do, and obviously, Paul gave Timothy that same freedom.
St. Francis once said, "Preach the gospel at all times, use words if necessary." That may be a paraphrase, but you get the gist of what he was saying. If I, like Timothy, have been charged with preaching the Word, correcting, rebuking, and encouraging...and if I, like Timothy, have to keep me head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and discharge all the duties of my ministry...I'm going to give it everything I have. But...I'm probably going to have fun doing it.
I take St. Francis' words pretty seriously. I love preaching. I love researching and writing. I love making my folks go, "Hmmm. Never thought about it like that before." But I don't have to write a message to preach the Word....and I certainly don't have to write a message to do the work of an evangelist.
So, now that FaithRiver has been birthed in cyberspace, begin looking for the Word being preached, only it won't always be me doing it. I posted a link last night, and Bon Jovi didn't even know that they were leading us in a prayer to the Holy Spirit. I hope they didn't mind. Evengelism, that dreaded "E" word, is going to take on a new skin now. And I will be looking for new, edgy ways to discharge the duties of my ministry.
And they said church is boring. By dang, I'll show them. That's part of my new job description.