Laboring in the Gospel

Yesterday morning I participated in a commissioning service for a couple who is making a change in their ministry with an internationally-based Christian literature mission. These dear people have faithfully served outside of the country, and for the last twenty-some years they have served in a high-level administrative capacity here in the US.

The time has come for them to turn over the leadership of the US ministry to someone else, and with great joy they watched as their oldest son assumed the position that his dad occupied for the last two decades.

Bill and Marge will be relocating to the southeast, where they will serve as representatives for the mission, visit some mission bookstores here in the US and assist in recruitment. While they are grateful for the opportunity to lay aside the weight they have carried so well for these last years, as I sat listening to their international director talk about the new work they would be doing, I could not help but wonder if they would feel, in this new work, that they would somehow be doing something of lesser significance.

I had preached on Sunday morning from Romans 1:16-17, and on Monday was out walking at a local park in the late afternoon and was listening to a sermon by RC Sproul that I had downloaded. As it happened, he was preaching from the same passage. One of the things he noted was that in verse 16 Paul writes that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation, and then he spoke about how we are so prone to rely on gimmicks and programs to do the work of God. But it is the Gospel that changes lives, and it is the Gospel - and only the Gospel - that has God's power behind it.

When it was my turn to share something with them and pray for them, I shared a bit about this and reminded them that as long as they are involved in Gospel-related work, what they did was of great significance. We are all laborers in the same great field. Some do higher profile work than others, but we're all in there. What will ultimately be the gauge of our success and that which shapes our legacy is our staying in the Gospel: faithfully rooted in God's Word, focused on Christ, ministering to people.

No gimmicks needed!


jon said...

"No gimmicks needed."

Thanks for the reminder. Most of the pastors who soldier on in smaller churches need to be reminded from time to time that bells and whistles do not a church make.

Btw, the link to your church blog is has an extra "http," and I wind up at Microsoft when I click on it. Bill Gates thanks you for the hits.

Peter Bogert said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Jon. I fixed it.

John said...

But my Purpose Driven keychain and my Prayer of Jabez travel mug will help, right?

Peter Bogert said...

Can't hurt. Add to it your "I Found It" Bumper sticker and a few talking Jesus dolls (forthcoming) and you'll be ready to take on the world!

Kristen said...

LOL John...exactly.

Peter Bogert said...

Hey! Our west coast correspondent is awake! Hi Kristen!

Aaron said...

Great post, Peter. It reminds me of Francis Schaeffer's "No Little People, No Little Places." An evangelicalism that is so hung up on numbers, gimmicks, and personalities desperately needs to hear the sober, biblical perspectives of guys like Schaeffer and Eugene Peterson.

What is the basis for the value of a Christian's life? Is it utilitarian? Or is it bound up with one's being and identity in Christ? I think the answer is obvious, but living in a time when the church has imbibed so much of the world, it's not so easy to see it that way.

J. Eric Wilson said...

"No gimmicks needed" Useing the words of Ernest Reisinger

"Whatever means you use to get people into the church is precisely what you must use to keep them. If you get them with a 'religious circus', then you must keep the circus going--keep up the entertainment. If you get them with biblical preaching and teaching, then that will keep them and you will not need the entertainment."

-Ernest Reisinger

Peter Bogert said...

Great quote, Eric.