Reflections on the Enduring Journey of Committed Disciples
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 KJV)
The start of anything in life seems easier than completion. The successful end of a matter is golden. It is the will of God that we end well in all we set to do in life and in ministry. God is ever ready to help us if we sincerely seek His assistance. He works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). He insists that His thoughts toward us are thoughts of peace and not of evil. His thoughts are to give us an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). With God therefore, our better end is assured in our endeavours. By His grace we have concluded well the academic part. We must also finish strong. Amen.
In October 2013 we approached God for wisdom, knowledge and understanding as we commenced our discipleship training program. It was a very rigorous and enduring journey. Students came from all walks of life and from diverse denominations. The Samuel Foundation School of Disciples is Interdenominational in orientation. All genuinely interested students could apply in so far as they were willing to obey the injunctions of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Profound biblical doctrines were well taught and explored and so were other relevant subjects in the ambit of Christian living and purpose. Our primary teaching methodology was inductive and our theological presuppositions were bible-based. Ample opportunities were accorded students to engage in practical sessions during which reasonable expressions were giving to their respective ministry giftings. Tutorial group sessions were also encouraged and take home assignments regularly given and tutor marked. Student’s attendance was prompt and encouraging. The entire program was a mixture of rigour and excitement. In July 2015 the academic and discipleship training concluded to the glory of God.
In actual fact, effective bible-based discipleship training does not and cannot have a finish date. This is so because all true Disciples of Christ must keep learning and working for the Lord until His appearing. What we have just concluded is the academic aspect of our training, which is partly preparatory to our missionary field task of recruiting more disciples into the kingdom of Christ. Our final graduation ceremony will be in heaven when we shall see our Lord face to face and He shall reward us accordingly. This is what we mean when we talk about finishing strong. The strength here is not ours but the Lord’s (Nehemiah 8:10).
Finishing strong transcends academic ceremonies and graduation. It is a reverential entry into our respective calling in the kingdom of Christ work. Finishing strong is our ultimate accreditation by the Lord. Our stewardship, loyalty, commitment and perseverance are all tested and evaluated before we are crowned. Our sincere response to the Great Commission Mandate is important here
Pastor Tunji Odebiyi (Address @ Graduation Ceremony 2015)
Director of Studies
The Samuel Foundation, London.