"I solemly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching."
(2 Timothy 4:1b-2)
There is great rejoicing in Egypt today. Mubarak has stepped down. 18 days of protest by many young people in the streets of Cairo & Tahir Square have been rewarded. They proclaimed their message - consistently! The world listened. The government of Egypt listened (at least the military listened). Change has occurred.
Paul is writing to Timothy with similar encouragement: "PROCLAIM THE MESSAGE!" In good times and bad, Paul says, stay on point... proclaim the message!
Of course Paul's message and the Cairo protesters' message are quite different. They wanted their leader out of office after 30 years of rule. Paul's message is actually our message: That God's great love for us brought Jesus... who lived, died & rose that we might be united with God forever. Grace, forgiveness, new life & hope abounds for us all! (That's basically the message.)
How often, however, do we (in the Church) get caught up in "institutional maintenance"? Eager to take care of our buildings, make our budgets, plan our events, and maintain the day-to-day operations? It's easy to lose sight of "The Message" if we're not careful. Instead of being an ends themselves, each of those areas should merely be components of the means by which we carry out proclaiming The Message.
May we be persistent in our proclamation... so others may come to know and experience God's amazing, transformational love!