*sorry the text is so late today. I didn't get a chance to post it this morning because I was running late for the assembly...as usual!
Saturday, November 7th, 2009
"Keep watching the ministry which you accepted in the Lord, that you fulfill it." (Colossians 4:17)
One individual whom Paul singled out for special encouragement was a first-century Christian named Archippus, to whom he said the above. We do not know who Archippus was or what his circumstances were, but he had evidently accepted a ministry. If you are a dedicated Christian, you too have accepted a ministry. Are you continuing to watch the ministry in order to fulfill it? Prior to our baptism, we dedicated our lives to Jehovah in heartfelt prayer. This meant that we were determined to do his will. So we do well to ask ourselves now, ‘Is the doing of God’s will really the most important thing in my life?’ We may have various responsibilities that Jehovah expects us to care for—such as providing for our family. (1 Timothy 5:8) But how do we use the rest of our time and energy? What is our priority in life?—2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
(Watchtower issue: 01/15/08, 1:14, 15)
Today's text discussion really ties in well with the theme scripture of today's Special Assembly Day - "The Time Left Is Reduced" (1 Corinthians 7:29) I didn't get to hear all the talks because I was late getting there...but the material I did get to hear really emphasized the need for all of us to have a clear spiritual focus right now and to constantly be looking for ways to 'minimize' the distractions in our life, while 'maximizing' opportunities to expand our ministry and service to Jehovah. Brother Morris of the Governing Body gave a very pointed talk at the end, based on today's theme scripture, entitled: "The Time Left Is Reduced - How Will You Use It? (I recorded it, so hopefully the sound turned out ok because I want to upload it) He's really funny too, and did you know he was a medic in Vietnam before becoming a Witness? He talked about how he'll never forget the terrible sight of all the bodies he saw during that war, but as bad as that was,...that was only a small glimpse of what's coming during the great tribulation and Armageddon since:
"As regards the wicked ones,...those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth." (Jeremiah 25:31, 33)
We can't ever lose sight of the purpose of our ministry in that regard. We have a vital job to do and we can't allow the complacent and ridiculing attitude of those around us, who are enamored by the temporary glitz and glitter of this world, to rub off on us.
He also brought out some interesting points which I didn't realize before about how the information written in 2 Peter chapter 3 was actually addressed to the Christian congregation (even though it also applies to unbelievers as well) ...I didn't know that. And he reminded us that based on the words in that chapter, we already know that there are going to be some dedicated & baptized Christian Witnesses who are going to fall prey to that kind of faulty reasoning and begin saying exactly the same thing that some members of the Christian congregation did back then,
"For YOU know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his?" (2 Peter 3:3, 4) ...Only to have 'a rude awakening' when Jesus' words about the destruction of Jerusalem occured in 70 C.E. and they weren't ready.
We obviously need repeated reminders since humans have such a terrible habit of repeating the same mistakes over and over and not learning from them. History is chock full of so many examples of people (and even whole societies), who either survived or perished -based on whether or not they 'heeded the warning signs' of impending disaster...which is why it just blows my mind how so many people today can look around at all the evidence that's practically 'shouting' at us that we're living so deep in the last days, and still not see it.
I mean just the moral debauchery and violence alone, that's become accepted in mainstream society within the past decade, should trigger serious alarm bells.
Which is exactly why we're given such strict admonition not to fall prey to that kind of sleepy, lethargic mental state-of-mind that some of the 1st century Christians did, who failed to 'keep on the watch' and weren't ready when they needed to be. History confirms that the Christians who paid attention to Jesus' words and acted on them, survived. While those who failed to heed the warning signs and mocked them, suffered great tribulation and death at the hands of the Roman army and their own Jewish countrymen when Jerusalem was destroyed. -And the point of that real-life account from history, is that the warning signs which Jesus' gave regarding the impending destruction which took place back then, was just a foreglimpse of 'the main event' that's coming up in our day.
So we need to be ready.