Teaspoon Christianity

For those of us who have been Christians for a while, it becomes easy to think that we’ve pretty much exhausted the possibilities of the Christian life. We can settle into a routine of activities at church and in our small groups and Bible studies, with little expectation of anything new. The familiar becomes the predictable, and everything from here on out will be more of the same. We dip our teaspoon into the vast ocean of the living God. Holding that teaspoon in our hand, we say, ‘This is God.’ we pour it out into our lives, and we say, ‘This is the Christian experience.’

[Raymond Ortlund, via Joshua Harris’ blog]

Jars of Clay

A Rabbi was once scorned by the daughter of a Roman emperor because he was not good looking. She was scandalized that such great wisdom be contained in such a sordid body of a deformed Rabbi.

The Rabbi asked her in what containers do they put their best wines in the palace. In jars of clay, came the reply. But why not put the wine in expensive silver containers? Why put up with lowly, ordinary, sordid jars of clay when they could afford to store them in more attractive containers? The girl was challenged with the idea that she ordered to put all their wines in silver containers.

The wine turned acid.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians tells of the same story. Sometimes we wonder why God would entrust the message of the gospel to ordinary people like us. Why can’t He just send the angels to preach?  One seraph could probably make more converts than a thousand of us put together. And why put the power of the gospel in sordid vessels like our frail bodies?

The answer was simple. The vessel should be very ordinary so that people would not confuse the message and the messenger. Unadorned clay pots don’t produce wine. They can only contain it. The excellency of the power of God would be better revealed if the container is as ordinary as jars of clay. Like us.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2Cor. 4: 7)

Same Old Mandate

For some Christians, world missions is just one fine idea to toss around in church. They believe the great commission, they believe that the gospel of Jesus should be brought to all parts of the world and they believe that the church has to do it. But not by them. Not when it takes them away from their comfort zones, not when it’s such a huge inconvenience to their carefully-planned lives, and certainly not when they have exciting careers to work on.

While most Christians think of world missions as a secondary business of the church, God values it as top priority assignment. The idea is actually as old as the Old Testament. When God blessed Abraham in Genesis 12: 3, He said it plain and simple, “all the nations of the earth will be blessed through you.” When Jonah was eaten alive by a huge fish, he was actually running away from world missions, from reaching the politically powerful city of Nineveh.

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Canker Sore Drops and World Missions

If you knew the cure of a deadly disease that’s killing thousands of people, don’t you want to tell everyone of this good news?

This is the standard question pastors use to encourage church members to go evangelize and make disciples. In all honesty though, this doesn’t tug at my heartstrings at all. I mean, forgive me but I just think the question is too hypothetical. In my mind, there is no way I could discover anything remotely of medicinal value. And if ever I did manage to stumble into one, I’d probably be too worried it wouldn’t work on others that I’d probably just send an anonymous letter to a famous scientist so he could make further studies on the cure.

Continue reading Canker Sore Drops and World Missions