Step inside my office and take a look around. On one wall is my college degree. It says I spent thousands of dollars to go to college for four years and to be certified as “ready for the world” by my college professors. Right beneath is is my certificate of ordination. It says that I have chosen to give my life to the ministry and the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Right beneath that is my Class Orator plaque. It says that my college professors looked at me and thought that I had a certain amount of speaking ability, maybe that would even help me stand out from the rest of my class. I think they may have had a few too many lemonades when they voted.
Look on another wall. It’s full of books, encyclopedias, word study textbooks and commentaries. In my bookcases are books on the history of the church. Books that share information on Greek and Hebrew words. Then there are some that are great study books for different words, people and places found in Scripture. I even have an entire section of books on the church. These books show me theologically (related to the study of God) and ecclesiologically (the belief and studies of the nature and functions of the church) what the church should look like. Then taped to my walls are different pictures of ideas that I have for the church. What could the church look like? I list out on my walls different goals and ideas for my work in the church.
I look at all of this and I assume something. In this case, assuming does something much worse than you’re used to. I assume that because of my books, my goals and my beliefs, that somehow and at some level, I am responsible for the church. I place on myself the weight that says, “It is my job to make sure that this church is healthy, growing and vibrant.” Somehow, if the Spirit is not involved in our church, I take that as a failure on my part. It must have been something I did. I must have not read my Bible enough this week. I must have not prayed hard enough this week. I must have made someone else mad this week. For some reason, I assume that somehow the church is all my responsibility.
My question; is that the truth? Did God really leave the responsibility of the health and growth of the church in the hands of humans? Is everything I have studied really just preparation to see if I can shoulder the weight of the church on my own, with God along the side waiting to see how well I do?
1 Corinthians 3:5-7 says this, “So, what is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
Churches and church leaders, what is your responsibility in the church according to this Scripture? What is our job? And why do we (I) continually have the arrogant attitude of assuming that the success or failure of God’s Kingdom is somehow reliant upon us (me) and our (my) performance? And how does this relate back to the culture around us? And how does this change the way we “do” church?
The perseverance and success of God’s Kingdom depends nothing on my degree or my accomplishments, but on the already accomplished work of Jesus Christ.