House Church Talk - The cello in the dumpster.
david at housechurch.org
Thu May 20 15:12:52 EDT 2004
If you are unaware of the recent lost and found cello story, go to any
search portal, then to the news search, and type in the words 'cello' and
'dumpster.' The cello was valued at several million dollars.
What a fitting emblem of fallen mankind that misplaced instrument might
be. Why? Because many are sitting as if abandoned, not experiencing Life.
Instead of seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, we
worry about the all the things which "shall be added to us" ignoring our
loving heavenly Father's promises.
Selfishness is the essence of sin. It's what causes valuable souls, made
in God's image, to live meaningless, useless lives, eventually to be cast
aside as mere vanity. Jehovah God has ordained that the great joys on
this earth would come - and only come - from knowing Him, who is Life,
and by serving Him by serving others. This is why all systems, regardless
of how well-intentioned, which put the saints on the sidelines, are
subversive to the his Kingdom purposes.
The ancient prophet Isaiah inquired with tears in his eyes: Wherefore do
ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which
satisfieth not? Isa. 55:2
Every believer is ordained and empowered for service - diakonia. It's no
more an office than elder is an office. Satan must be laughing his head
off, methinks, at the masterful job of reducing most of the church to the
status of "just leaving ministry to the male officials." And shame on the
male officials who are engaging in priestcraft, pretending they are
somehow above the others. Yes, the responsibilities of older ones,
elders, are greater, but not their authority in the church.
Truly, our Lord had much to say about servants who did not perform their
master's will. He also had much to say about living as equal brothers.
But instead of starting with the Gospels, we run to the Epistles first
and attempt to somehow read hierarchy back into the plot. It's a costly
mistake, brethren, which has ultimately excused untold millions from the
work of the Kingdom, most of whom, no doubt, readily pay lip service to
"the priesthood of all believers."
Of many in institutional churches as well as in houses churches, our Lord
would certainly inquire today: Why do you stand idle all the day long?
You what? You thought ministry was for the "elders" and "deacons" and
that you did not "qualify" to become one?
Ideas do have their consequences. For us to make "leaders" out of
"servants" when servants are what all are called to be - this cannot
please God. If this is an indifferent matter, why does not Jesus foretell
the outcome of the final judgment in terms of ministering or not
ministering unto Him via the least of these his brethren?
A lamentable footnote from J.B. Lightfoot of Cambridge, a pretty keen
scholar, I must add. J.B.L. was considered a leading defender of
Christianity in his day - a day in which enormous efforts were made do
discredit the integrity the holy scriptures:
"If the testimony to the ministry of women in the Apostolic times had not
been thus blotted out of our English Bibles, attention would probably
have been directed to the subject at an earlier date, and our English
Church would not have remained so long MAIMED in one of her hands." On a
Fresh Revision of the English New Testament, p 114, Macmillan and Co.
But the problem does not begin nor end with the sisters. How many men in
the church today consider themselves as the shepherds of the church and
live accordingly? How many children are being taught that the the so
called "qualifications of leaders" are mandates for THEM to eventually
fulfill on the way to maturity. The same is true for all Christian women,
who are disguised as "their wives" in 1 Timothy 3 in the "Bishop's Bible."
May God enable us to be instruments fit and ready for the Master's use.
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