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Consider What I Say

EDITORIAL by Brother Carl Birt

The apostle Paul in writing to Timothy was giving him instruction and advice. Paul was an older minister, and by this time he had accumulated a wealth of experience.  Timothy was a younger minister. Paul addressed him as “my son.” Paul’s relationship with Timothy was nurturing, or that of a mentor. 

In verses 3-6, Paul wrote, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” And then Paul followed that up with the words, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”

Paul had a message for Timothy. It was a message delivered in the form of a letter. Paul had given much thought to his young friend and so much wanted him to succeed. So, Paul crafted this letter with special thought. Paul wanted Timothy to read it and then consider its message.

The word “consider” means to think carefully about, especially in order to make a decision, contemplate, reflect on. The Greek word means to exercise the mind, observe, to comprehend, heed, consider, perceive, think, understand.

This is still the desire and burden of a true pastor. He too, has much to consider. He considers his flock. He knows his sheep. He spends time on his knees as faces come up before him. It is here that a message is born. It comes from above and begins to burn in his heart. His or her desire for the flock is that they take the message home and consider it. It is God’s message—God’s love to you and to me. Life will go so much better for all of us if we consider both the message and the messenger. 

There is much for us to consider, for us to think and reflect on. We live in the most complex time there ever has been. Life isn’t simple and uncomplicated as it was 50 years ago. At times, we may feel overwhelmed in our minds. One thing we can rest on is that God is faithful. 1 Corinthians 10:13 still says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God considers you and me. He knows our limits and has promised not to allow more to come upon us than we can bear.

As God is considerate of us, we also should be considerate of one another. Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” We want others to be considerate of us. But how well do we consider our brother in Christ? Do we stop and think before we speak? How well do we apply the Golden Rule to ourselves and others?

Let us consider our brother or sister. What has life been like for them lately? What can we do to provoke them to be encouraged and keep fighting the good fight of faith? Consider his or her time. Are their resources taxed already? Time can be a precious commodity. Too often we expect people to respond quickly and do not make any allowances for their busy schedules. How we come across will often provoke in the wrong way. Being considerate will prevent us from actions or speech we soon regret.

Take account of the other party. Consider what they have been through. Not just the present, but also their past. Consider their feelings and weaknesses. Consider their family, spouse and children.

Another thing we want to consider is the lost.

Ecclesiastes 4:1, “So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.”

Solomon said here, “So I returned, and considered….” It does us good from time to time to return. Return and remember what it was like when our soul was lost. It can help our soul burden for others. 

Remember the oppression of sin? Remember the tears and the hopelessness we felt? Remember the feeling that we could never find our way back home? Home is that place we long to be. It is the place where we feel loved, wanted and comforted. For the soul to be separated from its home is a miserable place. “They had no comforter.”

Remember, consider the wanderer, the lonely, the backslider and the professor. Where are they? Where are they on the road of life? 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

It can be so easy for a soul to slip through the cracks and to be forgotten. God’s eye is on the lost. Within the safety of the congregation, we can “lift up our fellow.” There is hope and help within the confines of a congregation. But how can one be warm alone? How many strands are in your cord? A cord made up of a saved wife, a saved husband and God can be a strong bond. If husband or wife fail, there remains the connection of the other to God. The congregation is a strong cord made up of many strands. That is why we need congregation. That is why we need each other. But think for a moment of the many who have come and gone from the place of the holy. 

 We have much to consider. No doubt, we could easily add to this list. One thing I will point out as things come to our attention to consider: let us always remember to consider things in the light of faith. It is possible to consider things without faith. Faith is that ingredient that brings hope and courage.

In this issue, we present a collection of articles for the reader to consider and enjoy. In keeping with the idea of our editorial, we have chosen to highlight a message that was preached last spring by Brother John Seeley on “Intentional Thinking.”  With the new year before us we often take stock of our position and how we performed during the last twelve months and look ahead to the new year. Brother John lays out for us a handful of thematic ways of thinking and how each can be a tool to make us successful.

The children’s story, titled “Staying Steady,” underscores for our children the need to listen to their parents and obey. The young people’s article examines building a “Spiritual Work Ethic.” Young people are at a critical time in their lives forming attitudes and habits that they will carry throughout their lives. We see a great absence today in the work force and in the world in general of a good work ethic. 

Lastly, we have included an article covering the topic of “The Antichrist.” This has been a topic of much speculation throughout history. There have been junctures in history where false prophets have put forth many erroneous theories and opinions without any Biblical foundation. Given the current times we are living in, we need to be armed with the truth so that we can be better equipped to answer those who have questions concerning this.