Letter to the Brethren – June 7, 2012

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Dear Members, Co-Workers, and Friends,

Thank you.

The mere fact that you’re reading this letter means that you have supported the work of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States, the Church of God – A Christian Fellowship in Canada, the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom, and its additional affiliations and outlets, such as Die Kirche des Ewigen Gottes in Germany, and our StandingWatch programs. Whether through financial contributions, notes of encouragement to the ministry, attendance at Sabbath services and Feasts, heartfelt prayers for the Work, or the simple consumption of the media produced for preaching the Gospel, your participation is what allows the Church to exist and fulfill the commission set before us. Thank you for your continued support. We want to make sure that you know it is tremendously appreciated.

The reason that your help and support are important is that God’s Work cannot happen in a vacuum by the independent labor of individuals without organizations. Big things are best accomplished when multiple people are involved, working together in the same spirit of righteous collaboration. By working together to promote and perform the Work of the Church, we help to fulfill the commandment of love for God and love for others. You might ask, how does that work? The answer is quite simple. By working together to support the Work of the Church of God, we actively participate in efforts to benefit the well-being and salvation of people other than ourselves. The outgoing concern for others is the definition of love.

Because the Gospel is to be preached to the entire world as a witness, fulfilling such a commission requires organization, cooperation and collaboration with each other, so that work can be performed as efficiently and effectively as possible. Individual efforts without affiliation have limited impact, and many times serve only to benefit a single person—ourselves. How much can we really do by ourselves? It is true that we are responsible for working out our own salvation, but the Bible is clear in the instruction to have active love for others as well. We all show our concern for others when we pray for one another, and when we support the Church to organize and execute the plans to feed the flock and preach the Gospel. By supporting, encouraging, and otherwise helping the ministry and the mission of the Church, we actively express the outward concern for others. This is something we can’t take lightly. 1 Corinthians 10:24 reminds us: “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” We build something up much greater than ourselves by actively doing this. Thank you for taking advantage of opportunities you have. We know that it is not always easy.

Paul expressed his thanks for the brethren in a similar way, because he too needed support in the work he performed. He took the commission to preach the Gospel and feed the flock to heart, travelling extensively to get the Word of God out to those who had not yet learned the amazing plan of God. He also worked very hard to help the converted believers to continue in their growth. Paul didn’t do this on his own accord and could not have, even if he had tried. Paul acknowledged the need to involve others in the Work, whether as ministers, as hosts during his visits, as travel companions, or importantly, as converted believers changing their lives. To the Philippians he memorialized his appreciation. In Philippians 1:3-6 Paul writes, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”

As converted members of the Family of God, we are part of something tremendously important. Individually and collectively, we are part of the good Work that God will complete, as Paul wrote to the Philippians. His Kingdom will be established here on Earth, and we, as part of the Body of Christ, have a responsibility to help this message to be published and broadcast and delivered to those ready and willing to receive it. Understanding that this is true—that God is working with us right now—is the first step for us all. Understanding how we can put this fact into action in our daily lives is the next.

A good place to start is by continuing in the support of other believers and the Church. Growing in our knowledge of the truth and sharpening each other’s understanding when we meet together is a simple thing to do. By sticking together, with a unity in purpose, we become stronger as individuals and as an organized entity. Solomon wrote about the virtue of cooperation and working together in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

This should encourage us that when we simply support one another and support the Church by reading, listening, watching, praying, meeting together and sharing, we actively strengthen others and the Church. We hope that you believe in your heart that your participation is of vital importance to the Work of the Church of God. Without your working to grow and care for others, with whom you come in contact, the Work of God cannot be as effective as it must be. Thank you for what you already do. Please continue and grow in it! Your efforts are not fruitless, but are appreciated tremendously. Keep up the Good Work!

In Christian love,

Eric Rank