Ministry Updates for Thursday, April 23rd, 2020
Scripture for Reflection – I Corinthians 9:1-2 (The Message)
And don’t tell me that I have no authority to write like this. I’m perfectly free to do this—isn’t that obvious? Haven’t I been given a job to do? Wasn’t I commissioned to this work in a face-to-face meeting with Jesus, our Master? Aren’t you yourselves proof of the good work that I’ve done for the Master? Even if no one else admits the authority of my commission, you can’t deny it. Why, my work with you is living proof of my authority!
Reflection – The Apostle – Part II
Paul had his authority as an apostle questioned. Paul had two ways of defending himself. First, he said, ‘I was commissioned to do this work by Jesus, face-to-face’, which we covered in detail yesterday. Second, he said to the Corinthians, ‘Aren’t you yourselves proof of the good work that I’ve done for the Master?’
The people we are accountable for are a kind of proof of the validity of our callings. When I was a manager in the corporate world, I was responsible for my staff and the work they did. If someone questioned my authority as a manager, I could have pointed them to my staff and said, ‘Ask them, they will tell you’. Likewise, if someone questioned the authority of my boss, I would have affirmed his authority and given witness to his ability to lead.
Paul established Christian communities. The Corinthians and others were all a living testimony to his apostleship, and ‘proof of the good work that he had done for the Master’.
Our relationships are proof of the good work we have done for the master. Our children, our employees, our friends, our families and our communities all stand as a living testament to how we have carried out what God has called us to do. It’s not that we ‘take credit’ for the hard work and decisions of others (or necessarily take the blame for their lapses). It is just that we acknowledge the influence we have on the world around us, which is too often forgotten in our individualistically oriented culture.
Each of us is responsible for our individual choices and efforts, but when we choose well, we set an example, and even inspire others, often without knowing it.
We certainly all have room for growth, but I believe we have a congregation filled with people who have answered the call to be parents, friends, church servants, community supporters, and professional in their work. If you are mindful of God’s calling, and do your work with integrity, be like Paul, and don’t let anyone question your fitness to live out that calling. Point them (and yourself) to those whom you have influenced.
Almighty God, you have called us to do good in this world. You have given us people to help shape us, and whom we are to shape. Help us hear again your calling to be good and faithful family members, workers, and servants in our church and community. May we be mindful today of the example and inspiration you empower us to be. Help us use the authority you have given us to further the goodness you intend to pour into the world. Amen.