Polycarp of Smyrna: Walk and Write

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Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27

“We bid you Godspeed, brethren, while ye walk by the word of Jesus Christ which is according to the Gospel; with whom be glory to God for the salvation of His holy elect; even as the blessed Polycarp suffered martyrdom, in whose footsteps may it be our lot to be found in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

This account Gaius copied from the papers of Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp. The same also lived with Irenaeus.

And I Socrates wrote it down in Corinth from the copy of Gaius. Grace be with all men.

And I Pionius again wrote it down from the aforementioned copy, having searched it out (for the blessed Polycarp showed me in a revelation, as I will declare in the sequel), gathering it together when it was now well nigh worn out by age, that the Lord Jesus Christ may gather me also with His elect into His heavenly kingdom; to whom be the glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.”

Polycarp of Smyrna in Martyrdom of Polycarp 22.1-4, translated by J.B. Lightfoot.

For some people this is might sound like a boring ending to the story. For me, it may be the best part for at least two reasons summed up with the terms, walk and write.

Anyone who hears the story of Polycarp is inspired to “walk by the word of Jesus Christ.” Don’t just get warm fuzzy feelings in reading it or say you believe. Follow His instructions to the letter.

Notice also the most generous contribution of these saints of old. Each one passed it on. They wrote it down. They followed in the footsteps of the one who discipled them at any cost.

What will it look like for you to “walk by the word of Jesus Christ” today? What story are you writing for the next generation? Decide today. Live a legacy of generosity and sacrifice. Godspeed.

And pray for a safe journey for me and two GTP colleagues, Ereny Monir (Egypt) and Paula Mendoza (Guatemala). We are flying to Mexico City tomorrow for a week of meetings. More details to follow.