We have entered into the New Year. But what’s new this “New Year”? 2018 has just arrived as I write this post. For some of us, it may be a year when we seek new opportunities in our work. Others might find it the “same old, same old.”
Many of us are entering a new year full of uncertainty, and Christians are no difference. Will we be as passionate as we were when we first received Christ and started serving?
In times like these, proclaiming the Word of God and His Good News is needed more than ever. Here’s why:
1. The Bible directly commands us
The call to proclaim the Word is a direct command from Scripture. When Paul exhorted Timothy to “proclaim the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2), this same command also applies to those placed at the pulpit or in a public teaching setting. Louw and Nida, in the lexicon that now bears their name, pointed out that to proclaim is to “publicly announce religious truths and principles while urging acceptance and compliance.” Jesus’ Great Commission to us also points towards the same direction—that we must “make disciples of all nations” and “[teach] them to obey everything” that Jesus has commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20).
The implication is thus straightforward. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to proclaim the Word, whether we feel like it or not. No doubt, there are times when other events in our lives discouraged or distracted us. But living a surrendered life in Christ means that we submit our circumstances to God’s authority. It also means we trust that He will accomplish His will no matter what.
2. It is our responsibility
When the people asked Jesus about the signs that will come along with the end times, He shared them in a long discussion we know as the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25). In the parables that followed, He reminded His disciples of the need to be faithful and alert. That was the point of His stories of the wise and faithful servant (24:45-51), the ten virgins (25:1-13), the bags of gold (25:14-30) and the sheep and goats (25:31-46).
In the third parable, Jesus told of the three servants who stewarded bags of gold while their master went away. Likewise for us, our Master ascended back to heaven but promised to return. Our bags of gold are the resources that God has given us to steward and take responsibility of.
That means if you are a disciple of Christ, your responsibility is to proclaim the Word and the Good News. We have the responsibility, by the steer of our tongues, to proclaim the Word of God—and to direct our fellow Christians towards increasing Christlikeness before the return of Christ, our Master.
3. God is not done with us yet
Our calling as disciples of Christ, to be honest, will never be completed. Even after three missionary journeys, the apostle Paul still planned to go to Spain, to proclaim the gospel where Christ was not known (Romans 15:19b-24).
Today, there are places which have not heard the Good News. And there are still places in the hearts of people (including believers) that Christ has not touched. Every square meter of this earth is His, and we are His partners in sharing His light wherever we go. Regardless of how long we have been as a Christian, I’m very sure that there remains work left for us to proclaim the gospel and equip others to do so.
That’s why we can’t afford to stagnate. We need to continue to study the Bible so that God’s Word will continue to transform us. We need to continually ‘level up’ our skills so that we can proclaim the Word more effectively.
As I reflect on my 2017 and plan ahead for 2018, I can only say that what God has placed in my heart has not diminished, despite distractions in my own personal circumstances. I have taken new roles in church, bought myself a ministry house and taken on a new job in 2017. But when I read the Word, its richness reminds me why I must continue to proclaim it, study it and discover its truths for myself.
What are your plans for your own ministry, and what might be distracting or discouraging you? How is God working to refocus it back on Himself? Share your thoughts with me; I read all your comments.
 Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 416). New York: United Bible Societies.
(Adapted from an email article I wrote for Simply Proclaim, an email newsletter by Eagles Communications)