Dear Brethren and Friends,
We have marked another milestone in our calling, having completed our observance of God’s commanded seasonal Holy Days for this year!
Year by year, the Church of God rehearses the dramatic events of Godís plan for the establishment of His Kingdom with mankind. The significance of what we do is little understood by the world in which we live. Neither do the societies of this age comprehend the nearness of these yet prophesied developments.
Paul addresses this contrast in his letter to the church of the Thessalonians: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
By virtue of our calling and our continued obedience to God, we have an understanding of the future. Paul further states: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober [self-controlled]” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6).
Just what is it that we are to watch? What does this admonition to the church really mean for us?
In Paul’s comments, it is apparent that “others” were in what is tantamount to a kind of sleep, that is, they were unaware of where the course of this world would lead. The clear record of that generation of Godís church is that many who were awakened to understand the plan of God chose, rather, to go back to sleep.
Those who did not sleep were the ones who continued to do the work of the Church of God. That is what we must be doing, today!
At the Feast of Tabernacles, we asked those attending to complete a questionnaire to assess participation in certain phases of the work we are doing. We wanted to know if the members read the Updates, letters and booklets; viewed the StandingWatch programs; and, we also asked for suggestions.
We know that many do all of this and much more! It is exactly this kind of commitment that assures that each one of us does not sleep but continues to watch. It takes real effort to stay involved. Paul wrote Timothy: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).
In times past, the remnants of Judah who returned to Jerusalem were called upon to rebuild the Temple of God. The work of that time did not measure up to the former magnificence of the Temple built by Solomon (Compare Haggai 2:3 and Ezra 3:12-13). In this regard, God recorded this challenge: “For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10).
We in the church find ourselves in a very similar circumstance when it comes to fulfilling the tasks given to us. Likewise, we have this assurance from Godóthe way we can complete our part in the work of God: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, Says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
In the time ahead and small though we are, we must zealously continue to reach out to the people of this world with the truth of God. As among those who have been assigned to watch and to warn, we are to draw from the power of God and stir up the gift given to us!
This past Feast of Tabernacles was remarkable for the spirit of unity and friendship that was shown among all. Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Knowing that ìGod is love,î it follows that when we stir up the gift of His Holy Spirit, love will be the fruit!
That love must fuel the work we have been given! This is how Jesus explained the work that both He and the Father had committed themselves to complete: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Even though the seasonal “feasts of the LORD” have ended for this year, we still have the weekly holy convocation, the Sabbath! We still are able to assemble together to honor God, to learn more of His ways and to be a light in this world of darkness.
Keep your hearts in the work of God, the work that Jesus Christ is conducting through those who remain faithful to Him! Stay ready for the future God has revealed to His church. Let us never sleep as others do, but let us stand our watch as Christians to the very end!
In Christís Service,
David J. Harris