Ministry Updates for Wednesday, April 22nd, 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 I of II
Paul, the writer of 1 Corinthians, had his authority as an apostle questioned which implied his ministry was fraudulent. You see, Paul wasn’t one of the original twelve. Furthermore, he was accused of ‘playing fast and loose’ with the Jewish ritual rules. Today we are going to reflect on Paul’s first of two defenses of himself; ‘I was called by Jesus, face-to-face’.
People in leadership positions are bound to have their authority questioned, which is easy for us to validate in a presidential election year. Politicians are not alone in this. CEO’s, managers, coaches, pastors and leaders of any kind are not immune. Even our children may challenge our authority as parents.
The chink in our armor is that we are fallible human beings. Reading through Paul’s letters, we find moments where he was cantankerous, and quite honestly, did not sound very Christian (see Galatians). Also, he made promises he did not keep, failing to return to the communities he founded as he told them he would.
I am thankful for Paul. We have more of his story and witness than any of the disciples. It is clear from his letters that he was an Apostle, as he founded communities around the Mediterranean. His giftedness as well as his failures makes for a wonderful reminder that from the beginning, he had to follow caring but flawed human beings in order to worship a perfect and loving God. Paul did not let his own shortcomings, or the resistance of others deter him, because the call from Jesus overrode it all.
Our credentials, talents and readiness for Christian ministry may vary. Reservations from the wise and well-meaning, or condemnation from the devious and destructive may come. But make no mistake: God is calling you to do something special today. Like Paul, we would be wise to return to the face-to-face encounter with Jesus, remembering he says, ‘follow me’.
God of our calling, God of our hope and our future, we give you thanks that you call us to contribute to the world around us. Strengthen us to overcome any voices we hear that tell us we are not good enough. Give us courage to hear those wise and faithful voices that seek to guide us. Help keep faith in the moment when we heard your voice, either through the Spirit, a pastor, a church leader, or a fellow Christian, saying ‘follow me’. Amen.