«But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ» (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5)
WE HAVE already seen that Paul recommended believing, retaining, and living the Word. Now he adds the natural consequences: to share the word (let it «run swiftly» and «be glorified» according to 2 Thess. 3:1). You cannot share what you do not believe, and you cannot believe without sharing. When we believe, retain, and live (in other words, do what God commands us), we share, and in that way the message grows rapidly and is glorified in the transformed lives of those who share it, as well as those who receive it. «Paul’s» may be imprisoned, but the Word of God is not chained (2 Tim. 2:9).
I had the privilege of meeting Sister Nilda Aquino, a woman who became passionate about missionary work. She has a degree in educational psychology and another one in theology, and since 1996 she has been a volunteer missionary. With help from volunteers, she herself has already planted sixty churches in northeast, south, and southeast Brazil. Meanwhile, her husband built twenty churches. Nilda has held more than one hundred series of evangelistic meetings. She gives Bible studies, leads small groups, and holds missionary training seminars.
Nilda defines her focus: «I have an urgency to share all that I have received from the Lord in order to alleviate suffering and promote the depopulation of hell and increase the inhabitants of heaven.»
This is a heaven that begins here and now, when people accept Jesus. There is nothing worse than living in the hell of this earth, blinded by selfishness and corruption. It is a mystery, a miracle, and a privilege that God wants to use sinners to reach sinners.
In her early missionary days, she walked everywhere. She walked so much that she was given a motorcycle to «run» faster. But instead of using the motorcycle, she sold it to build churches. She is a tireless woman. Christ and His word are glorified in Nilda’s life. She runs and the eternal message which transforms lives runs with her.
«Every day the probation of some is closing. Every hour some are passing beyond the reach of mercy. And where are the voices of warning and entreaty to bid the sinner flee from this fearful doom? Where are the hands stretched out to draw him back from death? Where are those who with humility and persevering faith are pleading with God for him?« (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 139).
Where are the Paul’s? Where are the Nilda’s? Where are the