I recently took it upon myself to read through the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. You see, I grew up in church and felt like I had a pretty good knowledge of the Bible, but I realized that I had a dissected, segmented knowledge. And it didn’t take long for that truth be reviled. Stories that I thought were at one point of time were actually in another. As I was reading this morning in 2 Corinthians 6 and I came across a word that I wasn’t sure what it meant so instead of looking it up in a dictionary it was easier to just look of the verse in different translation. Well, what I read was so good and clear to me I had to sit down and write out my thoughts on the verse.
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. — 2 Corinthians 6:1–4 NLT
I couldn’t help but think what if that wasn’t just the voice of Paul but the voice of my church? It should be! We as the Church should live in such a way that we put “no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” (2 Corinthians 6:4 NIV) We have to get out of our own way so that we can do the ministry we have been called to do. So often it is us the church goer that is to blame for the decline in our churches and the reason there is a missing generation. We would like to blame the leadership. If the pastor would just preach better; if the music wasn’t so dull; if there was… you fill in the blank. But the truth is God called you and me to be the body of Christ and to be the ministry of the Church.
But here is the ugly truth…ministry is hard! It takes living a life filled with faith, love, patience, and grace that only God can provide. If you have been called to be apart of a local church you have been called to a ministry position. The world looking to you…your neighbor is looking to you…your coworkers are looking to you…your teammates are looking to you. They are looking to you for authenticity. Are you an authentic follower of Christ? Or are you merely a Sunday Christian. Do you “prove yourself by your purity, your understanding, your patience, your kindness, by the Holy Spirit within you, and by your sincere love.” (2 Corinthians 6:6 NLT — italics added) I know I fail. Ann Voskamp said,
you cannot have authenticity without vulnerability.
We have to be real if we truly want to make a difference. Today’s generation has rejected the church because of the lack authenticity. To put it bluntly, they have called B.S. because they don’t see us living out our faith like Paul is telling us in 2 Corinthians 6. We have to be real. We have to be vulnerable. We have to admit our failures, our imperfections, our shortcomings and we have to be transparent and vulnerable if we want to reach this lost and dying generation. We do not have to be perfect. The world doesn’t expect perfection from us but they do expect authenticity. It’s ok to be messed up. If we weren’t we wouldn’t need Christ. That’s way the Bible tells us to work out our salvation…being like Jesus is a process. It’s ok to let people see that process.