Focal Passages: 2
Corinthians 2:14-17; 3:4-5,18; 4:1-2,5-6,16-18
People are insecure about
the darnedest things. I’ve known virtual geniuses on the ivories who will claim
they can’t play piano at all and will break into a sweat when asked to play
Christmas carols for their own families. My mom is a wonderful cook. But ask
her how she does it and she’ll clam up and turn away as if she’s scared you are
a food critic. And while we are on the subject, it seems people are not
insecure about some things that perhaps they have reason to be.
As Baptists, we hold the
doctrine of “priesthood of the believer” as near and dear as just about
anything. As Christians we accept that we have a responsibility to be the
“hands and feet of Christ” in the world. But with what reverence do we take the
tasks of being ministers of the gospel? I am afraid that far too often the
simple answer is “not enough.”
In writing to the
Corinthians, Paul starts with the premise that none, alone, is worthy to be a
minister of Christ. He quickly adds however, that through Christ, all can be.
It is a solemn responsibility, one we must NOT take lightly. Only when we
realize our dependence on Christ, can we truly understand what it takes to be
His ministers here on earth.
A minister friend of mine
tells a wonderful story of a dinner date he and his wife had with a surgeon
friend of theirs and his wife. In the town the couples lived in, on the day of
the planned date, there was a terrible automobile crash.
The surgeon spent hours that
day operating on as many as 4 or 5 different people. My friend, who was pastor
of the doctor’s church, called to say it was OK if the stress of the day had
caused the surgeon to need to postpone their date.
The surgeon, with a laugh my
friend recounts as “almost silly,” asked why his pastor thought that necessary.
The surgeon said, “Nonsense,
I had in my hands only their lives. Every Sunday, preacher, you hold the
eternal destinations of hundreds on your every word.”
Paul reminds this early church
in chapter 4, verse 2 that we have this ministry, and we must not rely on our
craftiness or deceit, but rather, just the truth. To be ministers of the
gospel, we must be dependent on the gospel.