I AM the God who includes you in my work 1 Cor 16:5-18

It takes a team to reach the world

I often use the analogy of a football team when it comes to the teamwork required to take the Gospel around the world. It is not just the quarterback who wins the game. It takes a whole team to protect him and together move the ball up the field. Whether it is in your home town or in the jungles of New Guinea, each member is part of the team and when the team functions well, everything is awesome, but when the team falls apart. Yikes. Every problem encountered can be fixed when people step up with their specific gifting to work together. We take for granted the support role personnel of the team but in World War 2 the supply lines behind the front lines were the enemy’s greatest targets. The enemy would do all they could to destroy the rail system and convoys to starve out the troops on the front lines; desert storm was a perfect example of how a great army was brought to its knees. This passage talks of two specific things. 1 Churches be on your guard, Satan wants to stop the church from spreading the good news, thus if you are destroyed, or become so introspective in your ministries, the support crumbles to the front line missionary’s. 2 We are a team, so that when there is success, everyone is included in the joy; from the church janitors, to the pastor, to the missionary, to the people who give sacrificially; all can share in the victory together and receive Christ’s reward according to their faith and participation.

“Everything is cool when your part of a team”

1 Cor 16: 5  After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay with you awhile, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. 10 If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers. 12 Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity. 13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14 Do everything in love. 15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, 16 to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. 17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…

Who are you Lord?

I AM the God who gives gifts to the church so that they may work together to spread my good news. Don’t you think that I could have reached all men on Earth myself? Why do you think that I left that work for you? So that together, by your contributions and joining me in my work, and because of your service, you might share in my glory on that day. On that glorious day I will return and reward my children for their faith and cooperation in my work. I choose to limit myself to my church’s cooperation in sharing my love with the world. Paul even eludes to this when he says, “I fill up in my body that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.” It costs you dearly to take my message around the globe. That which I would have had to do personally in reaching all men with the message, I have left for my church to carry on with and often at great personal cost; a cost that will not go unrewarded.

10/ 90 ratio is not enough to reach the world

Christ left instructions to the church to carry on his work by telling others about what He has done for them. In American churches the message has changed somewhat to short term project oriented missions. What was the great commission? Make disciples of all nations. Too many are only concerned it seems like to be satisfied by drilling a well and leaving. Granted, it takes water to live long enough to hear the Gospel and become a disciple, but if your missions program stops at projects, then you are not actually fulfilling the great commission in making disciples. The goal of short project oriented missions is to whet your appetite to leave the rat race of the US and join the race of getting the Gospel to the whole world. 2500 languages in the world representing billions of people have never heard of Jesus and what he has done for them personally. But this endeavor costs. Only 10 percent of US church money goes to worldwide missions while 90 percent goes to US based church projects.

How can you help?

If you saw a telephone pole being carried by 10 people and only one person was on one end, and 9 were on the other, which side should you pick up and help? Why should 90 percent of the resources go to reaching an already reached people? It takes dedicated people and funding to reach the rest of the world where there are so few engaged in the work. Lift up your eyes to the harvest and get involved. Start small yes, but lift UP your eyes to the needs of the unreached.

“If you wait till you can give everything to everyone, instead of something to someone, you will wind up giving nothing to anyone.”

More to come,

Steve

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
This entry was posted in the book of 1 Corinthians and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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