Sunday, October 7, 2012

Athenagoras on Praying for Leaders


1 Timothy 2.1-2: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (New International Version).

Little is known about Athenagoras of Athens.  It is uncertain when he was born or died, but he lived in the second half of the second century.  He is known to be an Athenian philosopher who was converted to Christianity.  His writing certainly reflects this.

Perhaps he should be better known for one of his statements on the Godhead.  He writes one of the clearest and earliest formulations on the Trinity known in history.  If this had been heeded, it would have saved the Early Church a couple centuries of debate.

With the Church still facing the fires of persecution in the second century, Athenagoras appeals directly to the emperor in “A Plea for Christians” (around 177 A.D.)  “Apparently Athenagoras believed that it would help the emperor to stop persecuting Christians if he understood that Christians believed in a God much like he believed in.  Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher most influenced by Stoicism, whose god was virtually equated with the immutable and perfect order of the universe.”[1]  In the final essay, “Entreaty to be Fairly Judged,” Athenagoras appeals for favor from Marcus Aurelius based on the fact that Christians obey the Biblical command to pray for their leaders.

“And now do you [Marcus Aurelius], who are entirely in everything, by nature and by education, upright, and moderate, and benevolent, and worthy of your rule, now that I [Athenagoras] have disposed of the several accusations, and proved that we [Christians] are pious, and gentle, and temperate in spirit, bend your royal head in approval.  For who are more deserving to obtain the things they ask, than those who, like us, pray for your government, that you may, as is most equitable, receive the kingdom, son from father, and that your empire may receive increase and addition, all men becoming subject to your sway?  And this is also for our advantage, that we may lead a peaceable and quiet life, and may ourselves readily perform all that is commanded us.”[2]

First of all, we see that Early Christians not only pray for their leaders, but also pray specifically.  They pray that the rule of Marcus will be established and passed on from generation to generation.  They pray the empire will increase, will prosper, and will be able to conquer new territory.  They pray for men to come into submission to the empire.  This type of specific prayer is exactly what Paul is discussing in 1 Timothy 2.1.  How specifically do we pray for our leaders?

Governor Romney and President Obama
First Presidential Debate 10.03.12
Second, Athenagoras claims that specific prayer is rewarded, “that we may lead a peaceable and quiet life” (see 1 Timothy 2.2).  Under intense persecution, a little peace and quiet for Christians is priceless.  Athenagoras rests his entire defense of Christianity on this one promise from Paul.  How could the emperor read such a statement without the sting of conviction?  Athenagoras points out that these Christians that Marcus is persecuting, are praying for his reign and realm, and desiring to live in peace.  If these Early Christians can follow the Biblical injunction to pray for their emperor, despite the fact that their emperor is killing them, what excuse do we have to keep from praying for our leaders?

Third, Athenagoras makes it abundantly clear that the Church has a voice in society.  Despite persecution, he writes directly to the emperor and voices the concerns of the Early Church, citing Scripture.  In our society, we have at least one way to let our voices be heard, by voting.  Furthermore, we have every right to allow our Christian values to inform our decisions.  We also have the right to be involved in the processes of government, a luxury the Early Church does not enjoy.

Let us consider the honest, respectful, prayerful approach of Athenagoras as we discuss politics with those around us, as we formulate our opinions, and as we cast our ballots.  Most of all let us pray for our leaders.







          [1] Roger E. Olson, The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition and Reform (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 62.
          [2] Athenagoras, “A Plea for the Christians,” in Fathers Of The Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, And Clement Of Alexandria (Entire), vol. 2 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers Translations of The Writings Of The Fathers Down To A.D. 325, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.v.ii.xxxvii.html (accessed September 18, 2012).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Christians and Government: Romans 13 for July 4th

How should Christians view government?  Where do Church and state intersect?  When I think of July 4th, Independence Day, freedom, and all that America is, I am drawn to Scripture. One of my favorite teachings is found in Romans 13.1-7.  I personally like this reading in the New American Standard.  Here is a quick look at the passage and the language that makes it so rich.

Romans 13.1: Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Government is an institution of God, designed for specific purposes.  The governing authorities are those with the authoritative power, the exousia (in the Greek). This word for power is often used in connection with the Kingdom of God.  Furthermore, the authorities are established (or ordained) by God.  He sets them in place. Is it possible He has His way, even in our democratic republic?

Romans 13.2: Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
Governments are utilized by God to establish order in the earth.  When a ruler or law is at odds with Scripture, the Christian holds to the Word, even in the face of legal or physical persecution.  In all other cases, the government is to be obeyed. Whoever disobeys, rebels against God and runs the risk of condemnation, or literally damnation.

Romans 13.3: For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4: for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
God ordains the public office.  The public leader is a minister, or diakanos, which is also the same word for deacon (verse 4).  There are a couple of functions of civil office that God requires.

Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good (verses 3-4a).  Authority rewards good behavior, civil servants, and good initiatives.  The Church can better society, and should co-operate with government to do so.

But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil (verse 4b).  Be afraid, evildoer!  Afraid, or phobeo, is the root word for phobia or terror! Authority terrifies the unlawful and is the avenger, or revenger, of evil.  God helps the good guys win (see Andy Griffith Show or Matlock)!  If rebels do not fear authority, they should fear the swordThe sword is understood as the power of physical punishment, the power to go to war, and the power of capital punishment.

Romans 13.5: Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.  6:For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7: Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
We do not obey because we are afraid to get caught.  We submit for conscience’ sake.  We  obey when no one is watching (verse 5).  We pay taxes as we do our tithes, because those in public office are servants of God (verse 6).  We pay our dues and pay our respect to our authorities.  Whether or not we stand on the same political platform, we owe them our honor (verse 7).

We may think that we are having a difficult time with our authorities in America, and so this passage certainly does not apply to us. However, we may want to remember those who were in power in Paul’s time, and all he suffered.

“Authority is the minister of God – so says the apostle, who had had frequent occasion to learn what it meant to be imprisoned by that self-same power without having committed any crime.  On three separate occasions he had endured the cruel punishment of whipping, and he was well aware how the Jews had been banished from Rome under the Emperor Claudius (Acts 18.1 ff)”[1]


If Paul can recognize God’s hand in establishing the Roman government, certainly we can see God at work in America!









[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Macmillan, 1959), 237.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Aftermath: Remembering Joplin After The Storm



On this day last year, Crystal and I drove into Joplin, Missouri.  The whole nation had seen glimpses of the devastation caused by the tornado that was six miles long and a mile wide.  The twister destroyed one third of the town, razing it to the ground right through the heart of the city.  St. John’s Hospital made headline news because the facility was badly damaged.


St. John's Hospital

However, nothing we had seen on T.V.  could have prepared us for the devastation we witnessed on May 25, 2011.  We joined Daniel and Rhonda Davis, and the relief efforts of the Pentecostal Church of God, which were underway at Messenger College.  After arriving at Messenger’s gym, Daniel took us on a tour of the city.  Because buildings were flattened, one could see from the area of town where the tornado began in the west (not far from St. John’s Hospital) to Duquesne Village in the east.

Over the next few days, we had time to hear the stories of our family, all of whom survived the tornado.  My brother Bret’s twelve-year-old son Rio was with his mom and step-dad in their house near St. John’s Hospital.  By the time they knew the tornado was upon them, there was nowhere they could run.  Counting immediate and visiting family, there were nine in their house.  Without a basement, all nine crammed into their innermost room, a small laundry room.  Rio’s step-dad Daniel sat Rio on top of the washer and literally laid his torso over Rio to protect him.  Rio’s mom Monica sat on the floor clutching her small son Marko in her arms.  At one point, she could feel the vacuum of the tornado pulling Marko up into the air.  When it finally passed, they all looked up into the sky overhead where their roof had just been.  They emerged from the laundry room to discover it was the only room in the house that still had all four walls intact.  Crystal and I listened to Daniel tell the story, all of us tearing up, as we stood with him in the wreckage that was his house.


Daniel and Monica's Laundry Room
Looking Up Out of the Laundry Room

Later I met with my brother Matt and we walked through his father-in-law’s house, where his family was when the tornado struck.  Matt’s father-in-law Dennis received a last-second call from someone urging him to take cover because a tornado was on the way.  At that moment, Matt was at the back entrance watching the storm.  He saw the wind whip the trees violently one way, then bend them back violently the other way.  Then the sky suddenly changed color and he knew it was bad.  Matt started yelling, telling everyone to go to the basement.  Everyone was headed down the stairs, but Dennis suddenly turned back.  He is a car salesman and had a company car in the driveway.  He told Matt, “I gotta get the Escalade in the garage.”  Matt refused to let Dennis by, and moved him down the basement steps.  The instant Matt had turned and closed the basement door behind him, he heard the house ripping apart.  Thankfully, all were safe in the basement, by a split second.  Later, as they climbed out of the basement, they discovered that much of the roof and second floor were gone.  There were also projectiles all over the house, items that had flown through, many that were from other places.  Even though the main damage was on the second floor, there is a good chance someone would have been injured by a projectile on the first floor.

Matt's In-Law's Basement

Looking Up from the First Floor
The Missing Second Floor

Over the course of our six days in Joplin in the aftermath, we were honored to aid in the relief efforts.  However, we were blessed when people would entrust us with their stories.  We discovered that the split-second decisions our family made were not uncommon.  People just knew where to hide at the last moment, as if someone had told them, and in fact many claimed that someone did.  These stories are not easily dismissed, and are nothing short of miraculous.

What actually happened in the real world on May 22, 2011?  What if the veil that separates the physical world from the real world could be pulled back and we could see the truth?  As the reports kept funneling in, we realized that people knew what to do at the last second.  Some claimed a voice told them.  Others even claimed angels appeared.  Many children said butterflies led them to safety.  In the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, I believe I heard stories from people who were eyewitnesses to the Host of Heaven!

Joplin has suffered loss.  Families have suffered loss.  But Joplin is still rebuilding.  A tedious journey still lies ahead.  Yet God is still interested in this Mid-West town.  Although there were deaths, God showed His protection, when countless lives could have been taken.  He will continue to show His strength as Joplin faces each new day.


Psalm 91.1: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  2: I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  3: Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  4: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.  5: Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6: Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.  7: A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.  8: Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.  9: Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10: There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.  11: For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  












Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Garden



One day, in the fall of 2008, I decided to take a day of solitude.  I went to a nearby site with historic buildings and a large flower and plant garden.  The purpose was not to enjoy everything, but to quiet myself.  As I sat silently in a secluded vantage point in the garden, I was finally still enough inside to hear the voice of God.  He ministered deeply to my soul, assuring me that I could trust Him despite the pains of life.

A few days ago, I came across this paragraph in my readings.  Instantly I was transported back to the garden experience, because the words are nearly identical to what I heard that day.

“It is impossible to be wide open with someone you don’t trust, let alone with a God whom we cannot see and whose ways we don’t always understand!  Subconsciously (or even consciously), we may blame God for some of the difficulties and traumas we have experienced.  Though we may have a hard time admitting it, these traumas and disappointments have caused us to wonder, Is God really good?  If I trust myself to him, isn’t there a good chance that I will wind up where I least want to be or that God will withhold what I want the most?[1]

Amid seasons of pain and suffering, I must admit that it becomes difficult to trust that God is good.  That was in the fall of 2008, and I have returned to that conversation with God over and over.  When I try to continue as if nothing is wrong, my spirit slowly withdraws in pain.  When I admit the difficulty of trusting, it is as if He breathes new life and hope into me. 

No matter what we face, God is near.  He is able to field our toughest questions.  He is still good.  He is trustworthy.  No matter what we face, He has already faced it.  He walks with us in our suffering and strengthens our hearts.

Hebrews 12.3: For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (New American Standard).









            [1] Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 117.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Leading Followers to Lead


And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4.11-12, New American Standard)

The first time I put Ephesians 4.11 together with Ephesians 4.12 was twelve years ago in a college ministry.  I realized that college students are versatile and mobile.  They are able to work in any setting of the Church if properly guided.  Ministry has never been the same.  My focus has been on equipping and empowering laypeople to minister.  The Church must be a potent force in our culture.  A Church cannot reach the community if its only focus is on bringing people in to hear great worship, be part of a new program, or listen to an expert preach.  Church is not only about bringing people in.  Church is a people sent out.

The individualized mindset in the West is one of the greatest obstacles to properly understanding the Bible, much less living it out with a commitment to mission.  “Instead of isolated individuality, the overarching focus of the Biblical narrative is the person-in-relationship or the individual-in-community.”[1]  We hear God as part of a listening community spanning history.  Dallas Willard states, “We stand within a community of the spoken to.”[2]

Personal meaning in life, purpose, or destiny drives Western thought.  Ultimately, this existential quest leads the individual into isolation.  Personal meaning in life does not compare to shared meaning.  There is great joy in realizing we are not alone.  We experience God together.  We are connected intimately and mysteriously with the family of God.  We operate together in Kingdom authority, advancing in the initiative of the Spirit.  We are a visible community, a colony of the mother country.

The Early Church leader is not driven by personal destiny or by climbing the corporate ladder.  He is noticeably different than contemporary leaders who exercise controlling authority over their followers (Matthew 20.25-28).  The Early Church leader takes on the role of a servant and empowers his followers to lead.  He equips the saints.



            [1] Toddy Holeman, “A Theology of Vocation: A Wesleyan Perspective on Vocation and Call,” in Asbury Theological Seminary,  http://virtual.asburyseminary.edu/file.php/5313/Theology_of_Call_-_Toddy_Holeman.pdf (accessed February 23, 2012).
            [2] Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a conversational relationship with God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 184.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spiritual Abolitionists


We all know of the famous boxer Muhammed Ali.  But do we know what his name was before he changed it to Muhammed Ali?  It was Cassius Clay, named after his father, who was named after a famous abolitionist during the time of the Civil War.  The original Cassius Clay lived in Kentucky and decided to spend his political career freeing slaves, as an abolitionist.  He owned a lot of land in Madison County, called the Glade.  There, he decided to found a community that would be a refuge for slaves.
Muhammed Ali
Cassius Marcellus Clay

Cassius Clay invited abolitionist missionaries to Madison County.  He offered Rev. John G. Fee some land.  The Reverend planted a Church with some families and other missionaries.  He started a village and called it Berea, after the Church community in the Bible who tested the Scriptures themselves (see Acts 17.11).

Rev. John G. Fee
Eventually, slave owners ran Reverend Fee out of town, but he returned after the Civil War.  He founded Berea Literary Institute, which opened its doors to African Americans.  African Americans could attend school all the way through college.  Union Church also opened its doors to African Americans.  Berea provided jobs for everybody.  Caucasians and African Americans lived next door to each other all over town.  Former slaves became landowners and farmers in the area.[1]

Despite segregation and desegregation laws, this same freedom is evident today, especially in the Christian community of Berea.  Berea College, formerly Berea Literary Institute, is committed to financially support anyone who needs an education, regardless of race.  They have a large percentage of African American students.  Their motto is Acts 17.26, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”[2]

Why is this important?  African Americans could find refuge in Berea before, during, and after the Civil War.  They were set free from something – slavery.  Romans 8.1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2: because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death (New International Version).  The Spirit of life sets us free from something.

The vision of Cassius Clay and Reverend Fee was more than just setting slaves free.  They started a community where slaves could receive an education, learn a trade, own land, worship, etc.  Slaves were not only free from slavery, they were free to thrive, free to live.

The Spirit of life refers to the Holy Spirit, but also links him to life.  The Greek word zoe means life or vitality.  This is not just life as we know it, the day-to-day grind.  The word zoe is often used in the phrase eternal life.  It is found in John 10.10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  The King James Version says life more abundantly

We often try to find a solution by focusing on fixing problems.  We get trapped in a cycle of continually pointing out problems and fixing them.  Paul was in this cycle in Romans 7, but Christ has called us to life.  When we set our sights on the Spirit of life, our problems are not the central issue.  We focus on the new ways He helps us to live out our faith, to live as part of a worshipping community, to live in our families.

Cassius Clay and Reverend Fee had the right idea.  Abolition is not just about freeing slaves, but about giving them a life.  God wants to break sinful patterns in our lives, but the Spirit of life also wants to set us free to live.  As Christians and as a Church, we are called to set people free from sin.  We are also called to set people free to live in the Spirit of life – spiritual abolitionists.





                  [1] Adapted from material available in the Berea College Archives, “Berea History,” Berea: Where Arts Live, http://www.berea.com (accessed January 24, 2012).
                  [2] Adapted from material available at Berea College, http://berea.edu/ (accessed January 24, 2012).

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kairos: Sacred Time, part 2


Galatians 6.10: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

We might consider this verse an axiom, an unquestionable truth, or a rule of life.  What makes it different than other rules of life?  Think about the Golden Rule.  Various forms of the Golden Rule are found in many religions throughout time.

Other than Christ, Confucius spoke the most famous Golden Rule.  A World Religions professor at a secular university quoted Confucius: “Do not do to others what you would not desire yourself.”[1]  He then compared it to Christ’s Golden Rule and claimed that Confucius said it first.  He was immediately corrected.  A missionary’s daughter said, “It’s completely different.  Christ said ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’[2]  Christ’s command was active, not inactive.”  The professor had no response.

Another way of saying this is that the Golden Rule of Confucius is a negative form.  The Golden Rule of Christ is a positive form.  Consequently, we can hide away as a spiritual guru, no contact with people, and still fulfill the Confucian Golden Rule.  We can’t do that with Christ, His Golden Rule calls us to engage!

Paul adds to the Golden Rule.  Like Christ, Paul is calling us to do good.  Like Christ, this is a positive form, a call to engage.  As we have opportunity . . . the verb have is active.  This doesn’t mean when the opportunity presents itself.  This means to look for opportunity.

The word opportunity is the Greek word kairos.  This is the same word used in Galatians 6.9 for the proper time or season (KJV).  There it brings out the God’s divine plan for time.  Here it shows us God’s divine opportunities within time.

Henri Nouwen explains, “Kairos, not chronos, kairos, the other Greek word for time, means opportunity to change your heart.  There are as many opportunities to change your heart as there are events that you’re part of.  Everything is an opportunity to change your heart – a friend to visit, the mother who comes to visit, the museum, whatever, that’s life.  Looked upon from below, it’s chronos; I have to survive, and I have to fight my way through it.  Looked at from above, it is kairos; it’s the opportunity to change your heart in everything you do.”[3]

As we have opportunity means we actively look for divine or sacred moments – eternal moments in time.  We aren't just waiting for a divine season, but also actively looking for the sacred in the day-to-day grind.

Paul adds, let us do good to all people.  The word do is almost always translated work.  We must labor to do good, or strive to do good, until we make a habit of doing good.  We do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of believers or household of faith (KJV).  Especially means most of all.  For believers, the family of God is the best place to start.

This is a call to help those in need.  Most of all, this is call to help the household or family of God.  Is this strong language used to help us prioritize our efforts?  “Blood is thicker than water” and we definitely look out for our family.  However, Paul is saying here that this is your new family!  How high is our Church family on our priority list?

Jesus gives us the Golden Rule.  Paul adds the sacredness of every moment and the bond of Church family.  How are we using our time to treat our Church family?  How are we spending our time?  Are we taking advantage of every opportunity we have with each other?  How sacred is your time?




                  [1] S. A. Nigosian, “Taoism and Confucianism,” in World Faiths (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), 199.
                  [2] Luke 6.31, New International Version (see also Matthew 7.12)
                  [3] Henri J. M. Nowen and Philip Roderick, Beloved: Henri Nouwen in Conversation with Philip Roderick (Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans, 2007), 38.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kairos: Sacred Time, part 1

This time of year, we’re all thinking of time: Father Time, New Year’s Resolutions, Bucket Lists, etc.  Actually, by this point in the year, we’re often regretting the fact that we’ve already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions.  Some of us are participating in special prayer events or fasts that our Churches facilitate at the beginning of each year.  With the New Year comes a fresh new start, the possibility of change, and the opportunity to reflect on what really matters in life.

Perhaps Paul was thinking along these lines when he began to close his letter to the Galatians.  How are we spending our time?  Are we taking advantage of every opportunity?  Are we taking advantage of every opportunity with those who matter?  We’re going to look at a couple of verses that Paul uses to bring out the sacredness of time.

Galatians 6.9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)

Paul wraps this verse with the challenge – don’t give up!  He starts with, Let us not become weary in doing good, and ends with if we do not give up.  In the original language, weary means to be utterly spiritless, to be wore out or exhausted.  Give up is from the same word group as weary and is actually closer in meaning to faint (as found in the KJV).  Both weary and faint are used of laborers who become exhausted in their work.

Paul says we can become weary and faint in the Lord’s work.  We can faint, pass out spiritually, give up, and give in to apathy.  This is a call to persevere, to endure in the Lord’s work.  If Paul were speaking today, he might say the Christian walk isn’t a sprint, but a marathon, so pace yourself!  The Lord’s work, doing good, is a sacred trust so don’t give up!

The reason we don’t give up is because at the proper time we will reap a harvest.  The NLT reads At just the right time and the KJV says for in due season.  This implies that it will happen in your time, when it’s best for you.  When who says it is best for you?  We often think we know what time is best for us, but we must keep in mind that God determines our season.

What is this time or season of harvest?  In the Greek, the word is kairos.  There are two main words for time in the Greek – chronos and kairos.  “Broadly speaking, chronos expresses the duration of a period, kairos stresses it as marked by certain features . . . Chronos marks quantity, kairos, quality.”[1]  Chronos explains the order of time, kairos the divine plan for time.  Paul is saying there is a divine season.  God has a plan.


At the proper time - in due season, in kairos, in God’s divine plan - we shall reap.  This is more than methodically sowing seeds in the spring and reaping in the fall, or giving a little money and expecting great return.  That mindset for spiritually sowing and reaping is shallow.  God is involved as we work the fields, and He will produce a spiritual harvest.

Paul is returning to the spiritual sowing and reaping of Galatians 6.7-8Galatians 6.7: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  8: For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Don’t give up sowing good!  Do the Lord’s work!  Plant good seed!  Trust His sacred timing, and He will bring about your season of divine harvest!  We may take for granted the fact that time is in His hands, but do we really believe that our lives and times are in His hands?



                  [1] W.E. Vine, "Season (Noun)," Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (1940), Blue Letter Bible, entry posted Apr 1, 2007,
 http://www.blueletterbible.org(accessed January 27, 2010).