Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ferguson on the reality of laboring for Christ

So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (The Apostle Paul to the Philippians about Epaphroditus, 2:29-30)

Commenting about the difficult experience Paul's friend Epaphroditus had laboring for Christ, Sinclair Ferguson writes-

"For we are too often obsessed with what the gospel will do for ourselves (give me peace, purpose, joy, friendships, good experiences). But Scripture's vocabulary of Christian experience is rugged and stretching. Our tendency is to say 'if it hurts it cannot be truly spiritual'. But Paul's tendency is to remind us that if it is spiritual it may well hurt- someone, somewhere, sometime." - Sinclair Ferguson (Let's Study Philippians)


Michael Lockridge said...

Being a convert from outside the faith, I was often amazed by the sense in which many Christians viewed God as a utility. I was converted while a soldier, and being a young man with some familiarity with history and now an avid reader of Scripture, I was familiar with authority and submission. I had some idea of what it meant to serve a King, and I didn't often see it in the lives of Christians I met.

A soldier on a mission, whether a soldier of a nation or a soldier of the cross, will suffer at times in the fulfillment of that mission.

I recall a man saying, when confronted with the reality that God would not give him everything he desired, "what good is He, then?" I suspect he had an incomplete perspective on his relationship with God.

Rich Mullins said it well when he pointed out in a song that we are defined more by the things we have given up than by the things we keep.

Democracy is a good system under which to live, but it does not teach the meaning of service to a King. Then again, few Kings have ever provided the proper image.

It is a thing Reepicheep understood. Perhaps these are times in need of his teaching.

Reepicheep said...

Well said Michael. Thanks.

Woody Woodward said...

Do any of us really have a clue as to the depth of Paul's self-denial as he is joyfully and constantly, "Laboring for Christ?" I think it is presumptuous to even begin to think we are in the same camp as Paul. But I strive and keep on. Colossians 1:28-29 has been my constant companion on His Mission. “And we (must emphasis added) proclaim Him! Admonishing and teaching all men in all wisdom that they may become complete in Christ. And it is for the reason that I too labor, striving according to the power that works mightily within me.”