Happenings around Antioch

Make Every Effort to do These Things

As I thought about Peter writing this last letter to his beloved brothers and sisters scattered
throughout the Roman Empire, encouraging them to the end that he knew was coming, my mind went
to a beloved brother of mine, Burke. He was pastor of the Baptist Church in Winston-Salem I grew up
in and was there to encourage and mentor me when I came to Christ in my teens. He came to
Burlington to marry me and Cindy in 1982, and at that time he worked for the Baptist State
Convention. He turned 92 this week and is still in my life. He spoke at my mom’s funeral in 2021. I
attended his wife’s funeral 5 years earlier. His most recent letter said, “I look forward to your
Christmas letter each year because I deeply love the Fox family…you will always be at the core of my
heart.” I thank God for Burke and his heart. We get a glimpse into Peter’s heart in 2 Peter 1, verses 12-
Another “therefore” starts this section and makes us look back to what Peter has already stated and
repeated for emphasis. We cannot overstate the importance of growing in godly character because it
makes us effective and fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and because it
gives us assurance and confidence in our calling and election and in the glorious entrance into the
eternal kingdom that our Lord has provided. Peter tells the believers that he intends to always remind
them of these qualities of godly character. In other words, “I will not be careless or negligent about
this; I will not forget to remind you to not forget these important things!” This is an important part of
the job of pastors and elders. One of my favorite examples is where Paul wrote to Titus, pastor of the
church on the island of Crete: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be
obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle,
and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” That’s a good list to display in your home! Great
reminders. This is an important job for parents, who spend most of 18 years and beyond reminding
their children about the things that matter most. It is an important job for counselors and mentors
and disciplers, as we walk beside someone we love, to help them grow in freedom in Christ,
reminding them about what is most important. And it is part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit! Jesus
said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all
things and bring to your remembrance (remind you!) all that I have said to you.”
And these reminders, Peter said, are just that. Reminders of fundamental truths. Any coach who has a
winning team knows that the fundamentals have to be practiced over and over. Even though
everybody on the team knows them, any slippage in executing them can end up in a loss. Peter says,
“you know them and are established in the truth.” Because he loves the people of God and because he
knows that he will not be present to love them much longer, Peter says, “I will make every effort so
that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” Peter is an older man and
facing the death Jesus told him about in that seaside restoration scene in John 21.
I love that Peter was thinking of others even though he knew he was going to die soon. Just like Jesus!
Jesus spent every minute and hour he could with his disciples preparing them for his departure. His
concern was not for his own pain and suffering that was coming, and Peter followed in his Lord’s
footsteps. He knew what we must be reminded of regularly, and that was this: we have a purpose that
goes beyond our comfort in this life and extends to making a difference in the next generation. You
moms and dads who are in the throes and sometimes the woes of raising children know that very
well. What you are doing matters for that generation you are raising and for the ones to come. And
this is true for all of us, whether we have children or not.
Make every effort to grow in these qualities and find ways to help others grow in them as well. And
hey, Burke? Thanks for making every effort to love and serve the body of Christ.