Summary: It's The Message - NOT - the messenger
June 6, 2018
It All Leads To JESUS!
In this reading, a major point that Paul is trying to make has to do with what followers look at, concentrate on and take away. If we concentrate on the messenger more than the message, we will undoubtedly miss out on some valuable points.
I had a favorite coffee mug that I dearly loved so much that I wouldn’t drink my morning coffee from any other. About a year ago, I dropped it on the outside patio and it shattered to pieces. I was devastated and angry at myself for being clumsy. I searched the internet long and hard until I found the identical replacement and it was expensive. I cherish the replacement and use it exclusively for morning coffee.
In retrospect, that was very silly of me. The coffee doesn’t taste any different no matter what mug or cup it is sipped from.
It is sad that we sometimes make that same application in hearing/listening to a teacher, lecturer, preacher, etc. Of course, some are better than others, we can’t deny that. But just because our favorite pastor is not in the pulpit isn’t to say that whoever is speaking doesn’t have an important message that we need to hear.
In college, I confess to being guilty of this very thing. I a psychology course, the professor was well spoken but when he talked, his teeth were never visible. If you can picture in your mind watching someone talk without showing teeth or even gums, it is strange. I watched him intently just to see if he ever opened his mouth while talking sufficient to see teeth or lack of teeth. That is downright silly and immature – I admit it. I got through the course with decent grades but to this day still wonder about him.
Paul tells us in this reading that he preaches not about himself but about Jesus the Lord. (verse 5).
Most pastors get discouraged from time to time and some to the point of giving up their call to ministry, due to a feeling of inadequacy. Paul himself experienced rejection, persecution, and negativity frequently but he refused to give up or back down. Jesus, Himself was rejected, abused and persecuted all the way to the cross.
So too were most of the men who answered the call to preach and do the will of God. I don’t have to name them because they ALL were to some degree or another. Many of them were persecuted to death.
So, I ask you: “Where would we (Christians) be today, had they simply quit?”
This message leads us to view all who evangelize, give testimony, preach AND serve the Lord in any capacity of sharing the gospel. It is the Gospel Message – JESUS the CHRIST not the messenger. I have known some very humble men and women who dedicated themselves to sharing the gospel and as I reflect on some of them, I am in awe of their tenacity and pure guts for not giving up.
As I close, I think back about the time that Edna and I visited a retired nun in a retirement home in North Carolina. I regret that I don’t remember her name. She dedicated her life, right to the very end in ministering to others. From her meager means, she occasionally sent five and ten dollars to our ministry in the Dominican Republic. When we visited her, she invited us in and shared two very large volumes (hundreds of pages each) of names, addresses and types of ministries that she prayed for ON HER KNEES, every day. Each of the ministries were recipients of her monetary generosity, as small as it was with great regularity. Beloved, it isn’t the old worn cracked and chipped coffee mug, it’s what’s in it. It isn’t the little old retired nun, the young aspiring overconfident fresh out of seminary graduate, the self-made man, the highly popular televangelist or mega-church preacher – it is ALL about JESUS CHRIST.
Thank you, Almighty God for your Son Jesus, – let us pray.