“You’re Leaving?” – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

“You’re Leaving?” – Pastor Matt

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Christian life is the idea that God uses people to run his church.  As we are all people, we can attest to the fact that we tend to take a good thing and make a right good mess.  I have occasionally asked myself, why would God use selfish humans to spread his good news around the world?  There must be a better way?  In Matthew 28 Jesus simply hands his disciples his rolodex and his daytime planner and says, “go and makes disciples of all nations.”  He leaves the building of the church to Peter, James, John, Mary, Bob, Janelle and  ______ (insert your name).

If I were Jesus, and I could still feel the freshness of my wounds, I wouldn’t be leaving the building of the Church in the hands of these scallywag disciples.  I would have rented a warehouse right next to the temple and started a very hip and contemporary worship service called FUSION 360.  But that isn’t Christ though is it?  To our amazement, he trusts us to do the work of the church like a father who knows his son is now a man.  We find an example of this in 2nd Timothy:

But you keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.  2 Timothy 4.5

We find in this passage a unique perspective of Paul.  He is at the tail end of his ministry.  He is writing to encourage Timothy to keep up the fight in the proclamation of the Gospel.  In many ways, this letter is a type of “passing on the mantle” between Paul and Timothy.  Paul is finishing his work whilst Timothy is still fresh.  What is fascinating about this passage is that Paul tells Timothy to discharge all of his ministry duties.  Timothy is to join Paul in Rome and take his place.  But he is to leave all the work that he had accomplished in the hands of others.  In many ways, Timothy will be acting as Jesus did in Matthew 28.  He is giving up his work into the hands of people that might not care for his ministry the way he must have.

This tells me a number of things.  First, whatever ministry I am doing/volunteering is not my ministry.  It is a ministry in the global movement of the Church.  Second, if Christ is willing to place the building of his kingdom in my clumsy hands, I must recognize that others will be willing and able to do the same job and perhaps do much better.  And third, there must be a point in the ministry where we work ourselves out of a job.  In other words, in any ministry we are apart of, we need to make it possible for that ministry to succeed even if we must leave.  And that means, among many things, to cultivate the kind of relationship we see between Paul and Timothy.  Paul takes the inexperienced Timothy under his care like an apprentice and then hands the authority and work over to him.

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