“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,”
Always remember that it is the people, and not the plan, that God is interested in.
It is people that He is interested in sanctifying, and not ministries.
That is not saying that He does not care for the plan or the ministry. But it is the closeness of His people to His heart, and having His mind from which the plan is made manifest, and the ministry, as empowered by His Spirit, which flows from the relationship and the communion that His people have with their Father who is in heaven.
The Gospel is not just a message to be imbibed and then stored away. No, rather the Gospel is to be taken in, absorbed, and put to use, lived out, by the people of God as they are in total dependence upon Him for their strength.
This, in one aspect, is how we, as His people, as His church in the world, are able to bring honor and glory to the Name that is above every other name. This Gospel is exemplified in and through the follower of Jesus. His fame and presence are carried about by the people of God in their homes, their workplaces, their college campuses, the corner coffee shop.
The way we live our lives out is to be our greatest concern, our greatest area of focus in each of our lives personally and corporately. And not because it makes us better people or adds to our own righteousness, but rather it is the Name of Jesus Christ, His Person, His Righteous Reputation which s at stake. His glory is on the line.
Men don’t see Jesus physically, just like we don’t minister to Him personally when we offer a cup of cold water in His name or visit the sick or sacrifice something we have to help someone who doesn’t have.
“”Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'”
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”
Jesus wasn’t seen. It was His brothers and sisters, those who are His, co-heirs, who were served…and Jesus accounts it as being ministered to Himself.
All that being said to say this.
Men and women don’t see Jesus physically today. They see His disciples ministering. They see His Body serving. They see us living among them, talking to them, spending time with them, eating and drinking with them, sharing the reason for the hope that lies within us with them.
God is interested in involving and using us in what He is doing. The relationship is key. What the life, the ministry, the example looks like flows from that relationship.
Heard a great quote over the weekend from Ed Stetzer.
“Hold the model loosely, hold the Gospel tightly.”