Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Slow work

Growing a church is a slow business, painfully slow, and requires great patience, perseverance, and prayer. I was much encouraged recently by the following quote from Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. He writes:

"There will come a day, Paul says when all our "work will be shown for what it is because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work" (1 Corinthians 3:13). The gold, silver and precious stones will endure while the wood, hay, and straw will go up in smoke.

Paul doesn't say that the quantity will be tested. He says nothing about attendance totals. Everything will focus on quality.

Warren Wiersbe made an interesting observation about this passage to the Brooklyn Tabernacle staff.
"What's the difference between these two materials, besides the obvious - that one is fireproof while the other isn't?

"I think it's significant that wood, hay, and straw are abundant...right outside your door, or only a few miles away at most. Any forest, any farmer's field has an abundance of these.

But if you want gold, silver, and costly stones, you have to dig for them. You have to pursue with great effort. They're not just lying around everywhere. You have to go deep into the earth."

To me, says Cymbala, these words are profound. Spiritual "construction" that uses wood, hay, and straw comes easy - little work, little seeking, no travail, no birthing. You just slap it up and it will look adequate - for a while. But if you want to build something that will endure on Judgement Day, the work is much more costly.
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire pages 135-136

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