Thursday, February 12, 2009

This week's lesson: the prophet's work

This week's lesson gives you the change to encourage some cross-training.

That's because you'll be discussing a prophet's job -- a job that's been summed up as:
  • comfort the afflicted,
  • and afflict the comforable.
Read Isaiah, for instance, and you'll notice chapters 1-39 focus on the second task, as Isaiah rails against Judah's sins of luxury, pride, and nationalism. But chapters 40-66 focus on the first task; they remind Judah that God still has blessings in store for His people.

Likewise, Mark 3:13-15 remind us that Christians have a two-fold ministry -- we are to:
  • Preach the good news, i.e. announce that God's kingdom has arrived.
  • And cast out demons, i.e. remove anything that opposes God's kingdom.
In short, we've been given the job of prophets; we are called to afflict and comfort as God directs.

To be sure, some will be more comfortable with one task than the other.
  • That's because some people are naturally tender-hearted; there is nothing they enjoy more than soothing the hurts of others. As such, they find it easy to love sinners.
  • And let's be honest: some people are just natural-born scolds; there is nothing they enjoy more than pointing out the faults of others. That's why they find it so easy to hate sin.
But both are necessary; that's why you may want to encourage your class-members to develop the skill they now lack.
  • This may include teaching your tender-hearted believers how to be more assertive in the face of evil -- how to hate sin, in other words, while still loving the sinner.
  • And it may include teaching your outspoken believers how to be more supportive of those who've fallen -- how to love the sinner while still hating the sin.
In short, you'll be asking your class-members to set aside their strengths and develop their weaknesses.

That's why we call it cross-training . . .

In more ways than one.

No comments: