Paul recongnized that there's a time to preach, a time to teach, and a time to beseech.

A Time to Preach, a Time to Teach, and a Time to Beseech

Sunday Scripture

One of the greatest gifts of my life is my grown up kids. We have fun together, and we also engage in conversations about important topics. I can feel my role in the family changing as our youngest moves toward independence and our three older sons take on increasingly responsible positions in their worlds, and while I’m sure they would each say their mother’s communication style is unfailingly straightforward (ahem), it’s also true that it has become more nuanced now that they are adults.

In two places in Paul’s New Testament letters, he makes a similar transition in tone. He was an unparalleled preacher, and his teaching comes through to us even today as clear, sharp, and unflinchingly direct. However, when the time came for action, he was well aware that he was calling for a response from the will of the individual:

beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Romans 12:1

 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…”

Ephesians 4:1

In Paul’s ministry, there was a time to preach, a time to teach, and a time to beseech, and it seems that the change in tone came with Paul’s challenge to his readers to step up, to live their way into the mature practice of the faith he had proclaimed, described, and lived before them. Eugene Peterson describes Paul’s beseeching as a call from God to “participate in who he is and what he does.”

In our teaching, in our parenting, in our discipling of others, there comes a moment when all the true words have been said, all the pouring out of life has been given, and all the responsibility for the next move is fully in someone else’s court. The comfort, encouragement, or discernment the parent or teacher or mentor offers is secondary to the decision to act. Each one of us must hand ourselves over and begin to “walk worthy” of our calling. This is the mark of the grown up believer.

How are these verses landing on your heart today?
Is there a decision that needs to be made, a relationship that will only be mended if you make the first move, a point of obedience that you need to say yes to?
In your parenting or in your ministry, have you discerned the difference in tone that comes when it’s time for someone to begin to participate in who God is and what he is doing?

Praying for you,

You may have noticed that this is the third Sunday Scripture in a row dipped from the deep well of Ephesians. Whatever I’m reading never fails to show up here, but if you missed the past few weeks or just want a refresher, you can click here for thoughts on Ephesians 2:11-13 (“You Are NOT What You Are Not”) and here for the post on Ephesians 4:20 (“What You Leave Out Is Just As Important As What You Put In.”)



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Photo Credit: Ike Morin–sunset after a storm

32 thoughts on “A Time to Preach, a Time to Teach, and a Time to Beseech”

  1. Michele, I’m already signed up as an email subscriber, but I would love to have a copy of your *How to* *Write an Engaging and Helpful Book Review.* Thank you! blessings, beth beth willis miller

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  2. Oh Michele … I’m feeling the tension that comes with praying that all those words I’ve poured into my daughter will remain for her to draw on when she goes to college, and wondering what else I need to tell her before she leaves! She is one who remembers, which gives me hope. And I’ll be praying that God brings to her mind what she needs to remember. (Great job with the book review guide, by the way. I’m still content to let others write them, but your tips are practical and helpful!)

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  3. To me, “beseech” is such a humbling word….we’ve done all we can, now we beseech our loved ones, even our own spirit, to walk uprightly and close with the LORD.

    It sounds like you have a lovely relationship with your children.

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  4. There definitely comes a time to let go, but even then, occasionally there are still those moments to sensitively beseech….
    ps I am an email subscriber and would love the book review guide – have just checked through my emails but nothing has come through – thank you.

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  5. Yes, I have also noticed the change in tone in dealing with my adult sons. I remember when they were younger being struck with the fact that though I could “make” them behave, I couldn’t “make” their hearts right with God. That had to be between Him and them, though I could encourage and beseech. This also reminds me of the verse in Jude about handling some with compassion and snatching others from the fire. May God give us wisdom to know when to use each approach.

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  6. Yes. A time for every purpose under heaven. May we not drag our feet and look longingly backwards when God is doing so much right now!

    Michele, as ever, thank you for the depth of your writing. I always always leave here challenged.

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  7. I’ve never thought about the sequence before—preach, teach, and beseech. But it makes perfect sense. Our lives preach a sermon to a wide audience, but we only have the privilege of teaching a smaller group—and of that smaller group, we usually only beseech those who we have a mentoring relationship with. A wise person knows when to do each of the three actions.

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  8. I don’t know that I’ve ever given much thought to that word, beseech. It IS more than just asking, isn’t it. All these centuries later we can still feel Paul’s urgency in that word. He would desire the same for us today: to present our bodies as living sacrifices and walk worthy of our calling. Paul knew the result of such choices would be satisfaction, fulfillment, and contentment. (Lord, keep me mindful!)

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  9. I love this thought progression. And I have always felt that the word “beseech” carries with it such a weight of deeper personal prayer for the one who is being spoken of and to. Oh, thoughts to ponder now, as I pray for dear ones.

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  10. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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