Pastor Mark Graham, 5/25/14
Have you thought much about the fact that life is so much about coming and going, arrivals and departures, traveling here and there? In this rushing world how many of us really think long about our daily traverse, our routine destinations which make up so much of our lives?
Today, we have a great lesson before us about travel; about how to avoid the mindless rush of travel and how to enjoin the verse which says,
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,do all to the glory of God.” – I Co. 10:31
“Every part of life is to be consecrated to God,” says E. Hurndall, “and every part of life is sacred.”
TEXT: I Corinthians 16:5-11
Our first lesson as we look to the apostle Paul and his extensive travel log is this:
I. The true convert of Jesus should always see himself or herself as on or about the Master’s business!
That’s right! None of us lives unto himself, we live for the glory of God.
-all secular tasks become sacred
-all routine and domestic chores have become stewardships
-our daily employ and engagements are divine appointments for the purpose of ministry to Jesus Christ.
Paul never abandons the sacred in the secular world, neither does he allow his life in Christ to become disconnected, either in his trade commerce or travel. It all was his Master’s business that Paul tended, and Jesus was the hub to his every turning wheel. Look at what we find in our passage relative to the point:
A. Wherever Paul travels he has a servant’s mind. He’s in it for others (v 5).
Here he’s telling the Corinthians that he plans to see them in his travels, in fact, he hopes to stay with them for a while to bless them, edify them (vv. 7,7).
B. Ah, but note how his plans are all subject to God’s will, Christ’s timing, and the Holy Spirit’s scheduling. v. 7 – “if the Lord permits” cp Ja 4:13-15.
Don’t live out your existence impervious to this reality! Live God- conscious, Christ-centered, and use the Bible as your road map and compass for life. Everyday! You’ll just travel in circles without the purpose His will gives.
C. See how Paul is about the Master’s business as he purposes to advance Christ’s work wherever he goes:
-Paul’s commending other servants of Jesus (v. 10)
-Paul’s focusing on the fellowship of good brethren (v. 11)
-He’s an encourager in route, along the way, and for the sake of the progress of the Gospel (v. 9)
The Apostle’s frame of mind is basically a slave’s perspective. . . about my Master’s business. Is this the way you look at life? Does this focus sharpen your mind for the ‘coming and going’ you do today, tomorrow, this week?
Our next lesson pertaining to these words for travelers is:
II. Our movements as sincere subjects of Christ should be ordered by the throne.
Which means. . .
First: There is no pathway we should take that is outside the call of duty (v.9). So many Christians seek the easy street, the route which seems easier for them. They build their lives around themselves and avoid the more difficult errands of Scripture, of serving, of supplying needs for Gospel ends. But not Paul. He looked for the opportunities God would afford him in route, on the job, in his travels, knowing full well, “there are many adversaries.”
If you’re resolved to come and go, to live out your life for God’s glory, expect difficulty! There’s temptation, opposition, and adversaries within us and without. If you see your daily itinerary as set by God, then come what may, duty compels you to embrace hardship in the performance of service.
Don’t run away from duty seeking rest for yourself, because you’ll end up finding none—– rest, that is!
Paul didn’t read “comfort, applause, remuneration, or likings” in his travels. He delighted in the opportunity of duty despite the obstacles. Let your movements in life be ordered by the Throne. Believers are always on call!
Second: How Paul looked for the open door of God’s direction (v. 9). Where the door to Gospel opportunities open before you, seize it. Walk through it. Yea, look around for it!
I remember going camping a few years ago and I tend to slip into the mode of thinking that this is ‘me time.’ I’ve gotten annoyed with my wife when she reminds me of our Gospel opportunity and duty in our R & R. Well, we camped across from folks that, in a brief conversation, were struggling over the bitterness of having a severely handicapped child. “How could God…” you know the drill. Well, as God would have it – we had lost our precious disabled grandson within the year.
-Was our meeting an accident? Did I have the spirit of Paul? Not at the onset of our vacation, but opportunity prevailed.
– Again, here comes a talkative older gentleman along the beach of Deleware. It’s getting dusk and he wants to chat, but I’m into fishin’. God just enabled me to bag a sea trout and now, I have to give my attention to this guy? What’s worse is that he’s a Grecian and I was studying contemporary Greek (a few years ago). A common denominator, besides he has a business near my son’s and asked for a copy of my book when it was published. He asked sincerely. Well, I took the opportunity, spoke of the Gospel, and well, I’ll be looking him up this summer. Open doors. . .
-look for them – walk through them -get excited about them -follow God’s directives -use tracts, speak for Jesus, leave some salt behind, let some salt from your shaker come out of you into the world! Let God lead and don’t lead a compartmentalized existence. You know, like. . . “recreation is for recreation; vacation is for seclusion; business is for business; work is strictly for work.”
Listen, consecrate it all to God and look to the throne always for direction and prayerfully come and go, depart and arrive in a godly frame of mind.
Selected Scripture: Acts 17:28; Ro. 12:1,2; Col. 3:1-2; Eph. 5:15-17; Gal. 6:9-10
III. “A Christian is a Christian always and a servant always.” – Hurndall
. . . and that distinguishes the believer from the hypocrite, the genuine from the mere professor.
Here’s a song for all seasons: “Lord, make me like you, Lord make me like you. You are a servant. Make me one too. O Lord, I am willing. Do what you must do. Just make me like you Lord, just make me like you.”
A PSALM OF SINGLE-MINDEDNESS
Lord of reality, make me real
an actor playing out his part
I don’t want to
keep a prayer list, but to pray
nor agonize to find your will
but to obey what I already know,
to argue theories of inspiration
but to submit to your Word.
I don’t want to explain the difference
between eros and philos and agape,
but to love.
I don’t want to sing as if I mean it
I want to mean it.
I don’t want to tell it like it is
but to be it like you want it.