A few weeks ago, we celebrated the feast of Pentecost, which marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, thereby empowering them to become witnesses to the good news: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth.”
After receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, they didn’t stay back anymore; they were not afraid or intimidated anymore; they all went out and began preaching the gospel as they were commanded by the Lord in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations. “Baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.
Jesus therefore instructed them not to just exist as apostles but to live as one. It is not just enough to answer the apostles; they must live their lives as those who have been chosen and sent to preach the good news to all. In choosing to live rather than just exist, they didn’t find it easy; they were bullied, mocked, persecuted, rejected, etc. But none of these things ever deterred them from living their apostolic lives to the fullest.
Today, they are all gone, but their work still speaks for them. We remember that they were the first to be called Christians in Acts 11:26, and this was because of their actions. They were open to the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, and they did exploits for God. After the Apostles, we have had great men and women of faith who did great things for God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Against all odds, they chose to live and not just exist.
Many of them are long gone, but whenever we remember their good deeds, we glorify God for their lives. They boldly lived their lives as children of God and were never ashamed to be associated with Christians. Ecclesiasticus chapter 44 sings the praises of these men (women): “Let us now praise famous men and our fathers in their generations. The Lord apportioned to them great glory and his majesty from the beginning. There were those who ruled in their kingdoms and were men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding and proclaiming prophecies; leaders of the people in their deliberations and in their understanding of learning for the people; wise in their words of instruction; those who composed musical tunes and set forth verses in writing; rich men (women) furnished with resources; living peaceably in their habitations—all these were honoured in their generations and were the glory of their times. There are some of them who have left a name so that men can declare their praise.”
They have been praised because they didn’t just exist; they lived their lives to the fullest. What exactly does it mean to live life to the fullest as a Christian? It is not about having a lot of money, material things, friends and family, going to Mass every Sunday, etc. It is more about living our lives for God and being open to the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. It is more about being spiritual than just religious. I believe that a full and meaningful life begins with a deep reverence for God. Life is made more meaningful when we worship our Creator. I can’t imagine anything more boring and meaningless than to go through life thinking that there is no God (it is only the fool who says there is no God, Psalm 14:1), no Jesus who loves people sacrificially, or that He doesn’t matter.
We too, like these great men and women, have been empowered to live and make impacts wherever we find ourselves here on earth. God has not created us to just exist but to live our lives fully and productively. To be alive means that something is breathing, moving, bearing fruit, expanding, or producing. If we consider ourselves still living, we should still be enlarging, reproducing, growing, and increasing in different areas of our lives. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are; as long as you are still alive and breathing, there is a reason why you are still on this planet. On the other hand, to exist means that one is alive and breathing, but their life is not producing.
God’s plan for us is that we should live and not just exist. He has given us all it takes to do this through the power of the Holy Spirit, which we have all received as Christians. Are you, therefore, living or just existing?
We will conclude this topic in the next edition in September. Remain blessed.