The Shepherd of Hermas: Carry out your ministry courageously

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Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. Titus 3:14

“Then he said to me, “Carry out your ministry courageously; declare the Lord’s mighty acts to every person, and you will find favor in this ministry. Whoever, therefore, walks in these commandments will live and will have a happy life; but whoever neglects them will not live and will have an unhappy life. Tell all who are able to do right not to stop; to work at good works is beneficial to them.

Moreover, I say that every person ought to be rescued from distress, for one who is in need and suffers distress in daily life is in great anguish and hardship. So whoever rescues such a person from misery wins great joy for himself. For the one who is troubled by distress of this sort is afflicted with the same anguish as one who is in chains. For any people, because of afflictions of this kind, commit suicide when they can no longer endure them.

Therefore, whoever knows about the misery of someone like this and does not rescue that person commits a great sin and becomes guilty of that person’s blood. Do good works, therefore, you who have received from the Lord, lest while you put off doing them the building of the tower is completed. For it is on your account that the work of building has been suspended. So unless you act quickly to do right, the tower will be completed, and you will be excluded.”

The Shepherd of Hermas 114, Parable X.4 (c. A.D. 70-140) in The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations 3rd edition, edited and translated by, Michael W. Holmes after the earlier work of J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, 120.

Today is the final post from the Apostolic Fathers. For some of you that’s a relief. I hope you have enjoyed it and that you are blessed when we jump to modern times tomorrow.

Carry out your ministry courageously. Living radically different from the world is not easy at all. It requires courage. And the time is short. Put to work the resources you have. Devote yourself to good works.

I fly home from Washington D.C. today Jenni serves another week at Black Rock Christian Camp & Retreat Center. I appreciate your prayers for her and her spiritual direction and soul care work with 60 summer counselors

Reply if you want a copy of my GTP USA trip report which chronicles the fruits of onboarding three new staff and strengthening our Spanish and Chinese initiatives at GTP.