Saturday, 21 March 2015

Seeing the gold or seeing the cracks

Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.
Galatians 4:19 NLT

There is a story in the New Testament about a man called John Mark. This young fellow not only divided opinion, but he also divided an effective apostolic partnership when Paul and Barnabas fell out over whether or not to take him on their next mission trip. Paul had felt let down by John Mark when he failed to complete the previous journey with them, and clearly felt that he didn't have what it took to make it in the ministry. Barnabas strongly disagreed with Paul and refused to write the young man off because of his previous failure, and so the two co-workers parted company and went their separate ways (Acts 15:40). It is so good to read later that Paul had changed his mind and specifically sent for the same young man who he had come to consider "useful to him" (2 Timothy 4:11). 

It says a lot for Barnabas who stuck with John Mark and believed in him when he had effectively been written off as a no-hoper, but let's not forget Paul, who not only changed his opinion, but gave the young man another chance. 

As someone who has been written off and no doubt labelled useless by individuals in the past (and maybe in the present too?) I can relate to the story of John Mark. I therefore appreciate so much the people in my own life who have never given up on me, prayed for me and encouraged me to keep on going for all that God has promised. People who saw the potential and not just the flaws, the gold and not just the cracks. And as a pastor in a local church for the last ten years, I consider it my role and my duty to help everyone in my care find their place in the body and become the person God has called them to be. To look beyond the imperfections and see the potential in every believer.

So I want to encourage you today.  If you feel that you have been written off as a no-hoper by people in your life (even Christian leaders), I want you to know that God does not consider you in the same way. The Bible says that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1:6). Your heavenly father will not give up on you and will keep working on you until you get there. Just submit yourself to him and he will lead you forward. 

And if you are a  Christian leader, whether you are helping in the creche or preaching to the multitudes, your role is to help people come to fulness and maturity in God. To see Christ in them and to see Him fully formed in their lives. There are no spare parts in the body of Christ.

In love


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