The Church’s Only Business, it’s only ministry….
20 Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends! 21 Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (TEV)
“Like the grain of wheat, we too have to die in order to become fruitful. You and I, with the help of God’s grace, want to open up a deep furrow, to blaze a trail. That is why we have to leave the poor animal man behind and launch out into the sphere of the spirit, giving a supernatural meaning to every human undertaking and, at the same time, to all those engaged in them.”
Yesterday I read an article about a church offering a program that was advertised as “life-changing”. I thought it would be something that was about this incredible week – as we celebrate Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. It wasn’t – it was about how to find peace – but not Christ’s peace. Instead it was financial peace. Over the last few days, similar things have arisen, as people have asked about this or that, about getting churches active in this political crusade, or that social issue. Most of the things have merit, they can benefit people. But they aren’t critical. Not even close.
There is only one thing that is critical. There is only one business the church about which the church should be concerned. It has a couple of different names in the church, a couple of different ways we describe it. Today, as we celebrate Christ dying on the cross, (yes celebrate) I was to use the one I used a couple of weeks ago in a sermon. The church or theological term is
I like the way the TEV describes it – “let God change you from enemies into His friends”.
That’s our job – to appeal to people on God’s behalf – let God do what God does best. Let Him heal all the relationships you have – let Him not just forgive your sin, but let Him bring you into a relationship where you share His righteousness and holiness, (fancy words that simply describe a relationship with Him, with His people, with all His creation where things are done in love) let Him bring you into a relationship where you share His glory as well.
To those in such a relationship – we make our appeal, we beg people to let Him do these things – even if we have to die to do so. For we definitely do die to self – it takes sacrifice to reach out to people, it takes love, it takes humility.
You might think that is asking to much? Can’t we just leave this to pastors and priests, to do this work?
Well, not really, and it isn’t really asking too much, for when Christ reconciled us to the Father, when He brought us to the Father, when He brought us home….
He will never be the older brother, upset at the Father throwing the celebration for the prodigal son/brother. Instead – he offered His life to bring us home…. now its our turn – not necessarily to die – but whether we are a living sacrifice, or a martyr- that is our business.
Other things may come into play – but let us be about the Father’s work, Jesus work, the work the Spirit does through us,
And let us beg people – to let God transform them, from His enemies, into His friends.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3571-3574). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought for Good Friday.