Friday, April 11, 2008

Servants Entrusted with Secret Things - Jason and Adena

Jason Diaz (in the middle with a green shirt on) and Adena Mikkelsen are leading the STINT team in beautiful Costa Rica. They are only in week 5 of their STINT year. And despite the fact its only 75 miles at the most to a beach either to the west or east of them, they haven’t been just taking it easy for several months. The school year is just beginning at the University of Costa Rica.

Adena shared, "A spring break team from the University of Idaho arrived the first week of campus to help us get the school year launched. Partnering with them, we saw one guy come to Christ and we have 36 other students to follow up. We are blessed to be working with national staff who are giving us wisdom and insight into culture and ministry here."

The team has in 5 weeks has faced a few trials like a mugging. Adena writes, "It is with faltering steps that we are running this race. After bursting out of the starting blocks, our pace was halted by campus being closed down for the entire week before Easter. Emotional and physical difficulties, crisis back home, and a threat to our safety early on in the year have kept our team from hitting a stride with ministry. All we can say is that we are here. We are showing up and trusting in God to direct us in ways that we can't yet predict."

The Corinthian body were messed up church folk. They had this major immorality issue, lawsuits among believers, a huge lack of love in how they related to one another and no small quarrels among the churches that met in the households of Chloe, Gaius, Stephanus and Cripus Crèmes. Some were saying, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Peter"; while others took the high road and said, "I follow Christ." (Sort of like the American believers: "I’m of Calvin", "I’m of Louis Giglio", "I follow Matt Mikalatos", "I like Hurley", "I raise kids God's way" etc.) .

Paul tells them, "Dudes, (he likes Hurley too), you are acting like little babies so I am having to be your nursemaid. Grow up! You are as carnal as bricks with all this jealously and bickering about which camp you are in. Who cares?!? Apollos and I are merely servants. It's about God not about us."

Before Paul dives into the immorality issue in chapter 5, puffed-up knowledge in chapter 8 and showing them a more excellent way in chapter 13; in chapter 4 he says, "Men ought to regard us as servants of Christ entrusted with the secret things of God." He says that it is required of a servant to be found faithful and all that will happen in the end when God judges the thoughts and motives of the hearts. It will all be figured out then.

He tells them not to take pride in him or Apollos or anyone over against another. And Paul goes to write about himself in a not so lofty way: "For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world."

What does this have to do with us as leaders? Paul doesn’t write this to shame those Carnal Corinthians but to warn them and to let them know that the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. For us this is a reminder and a warning as well.

~ It’s not about us.
~ We are merely His servants entrusted with the secret things of God.
~ It's about showing up and trusting Him to direct us in ways we can't predict.
~ Whatever happens to us – campus being closed down for a whole week, emotional and physical difficulties, crisis’s back home, threats to safety, or whatever - is to the benefit of the glory of God, his gospel and those who hear.

~ It’s not about us… It’s about Him.

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