Gleanings – To Offer Life and Hope is to Live

Proper 5, Wednesday, June 12, 2013

“And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.”

What other things? Not much really just fives time lashed, three times beaten, three times shipwrecked, without food, cold and exposed, these but a few among many other challenges. On top of all that Paul has to worry about “all the churches.” When the position of first century apostle opened up, the number of résumés submitted was probably thin to nonexistent.

I wonder what the church would be like today if we all were willing to endure such hardship to see the kingdom advanced. Ministry today is a vocation if not a career. I should know. Personally, I have benefitted from it. For a couple of years I have struggled recently with how much I am willing to give of myself or of my family to see the kingdom advanced. The emotional toll extracted by the institutional church over the years has not been inconsequential. Without much awareness I have found myself reluctant to build something that would cause pain or potentially reject me. So I meandered for a season. Not good for a church planter.

Then suddenly God brought to me back to the churches, not the Church, but the churches and the people in them. “They are so worth it John. Run the risk again. Take some hits.” These are the kinds of things He has been saying to me. And He is, of course, so right. Without acting they, the people in the churches and outside of them, are worth it, of deep and abiding value simply because they are created in the image of God. Then the bonus comes. Offering life to others is to live myself. Conversely, to withhold and meander is to die.

Back in the hunt.  But for the foreseeable future I’m still staying away from ships.


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