Sunday, 20 July 2014

Commended for Ministry - 2 Cor 2:14 to 3:6

Imagine you are hiring someone. Candidates cvs roughly match and meet the job requirements. Who do you choose? Probably the person you already know ... because relationship trumps the other factors. You can't beat getting to know people. The Zambia trip is about that - seeing, hearing first hand their story, their work.

Every time you meet someone, you can influence them - point them to a better way, even point them to Christ. In that sense we are all leaders, because we can all influence others. Of course every organisation has recognised leaders, certain positions. Yet we must not forget that such leadership is enabled by relationship - one person influencing another.

Paul hits on this principle in chapter 3. Positively influenced people become a letter of recommendation for others to read: people might now see Christ because of Paul's original ministry among the Corinthians. As we seek additional leaders we legitimately ask who might be commended - the answer lies written in lives of people around us!

We are all invited into new covenant ministry - setting people free in Christ. It is an invitation that we can see from scripture applies to women and men alike. Father, Son and Holy Spirit all desire, commission and empower for this to be so. The invitation works through us in the various ministries and initiatives of the church. Whether it is a regular children's club back at base, or a potential new work at St. Johns, Stour Green, or even aspirations at Ely North, we are to be in the business of leading people to freedom in Christ.

Paul says this new covenant ministry is not bound in Old Testament law, but finds freedom in the Spirit. Let us not be tempted to read Paul's writings as some kind of rule book: that leads to tablets of stone and risks our hearts becoming stone. Rather live in the confidence of Christ which brings grace and freedom.

If we are to be bound in any way, it is only to Christ: let Christ take us captive as per 2:14. That makes a good acid test for a possible new leader - are they sold out for Jesus, led in His procession, being an aroma that might draw others to be captive to Christ too? The answer to that for any one person lies not necessarily in cvs or checklists, but by knowing them and the evidence of letters of recommendation. Such letters, I suggest, have probably already been written on the hearts of many people in our congregation.

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