Sat, 25 October 2008
A Christian must strive to achieve worthy goals and remain "mission-minded" if he is to live fully for the Kingdom. Whenever a Christian approaches the First Epistle to the Corinthians as merely a devotional book, like some sort of spiritual fodder, he will miss the entire point. St. Paul was always strategic in his plans and actions in order to hasten the mission; similarly, modern Christians are called to act with prayer, forethought and sound execution.
Always working from bases in urban centers, Paul would begin his ministry with the Jews, toiling to establish a base of followers from their ranks and those of the "God-fearers," religious Gentiles in close association with the Jews. Paul efficiently evangelized these God-fearers, offering them a monotheistic religion that did not require circumcision.
Paul never remained long in any one urban center, for his aggressive, often polemic, ministry made him many enemies. After rejection from one community, he would immediately create a new base in another city. He would then labor to coach his disciples in close discourse and worked day and night, meeting the people where they were; further, he often worked a trade to support himself simultaneously to carrying out his apostolic ministry.
As soon as Paul established a sustainable base in one community, he hastened to a new urban center to repeat the process. God appointed him to preach the gospel, a mission he ceaselessly carried out. Within one generation, his ministry of church-planting and letter-writing established a foundation in the Greco-Roman world that affected all subsequent Christian history. Paul's carefully-planned strategy of evangelization clearly contrasts the disorganized and way many modern Christians seek to spread faith. If Christians steadfastly imitate his worthy example their ministries will bear some of the same fruit. Music: La Savorgnana from the album Italian Music of the 17th Century, performed by Altri Stromenti. www.magnatune.com
(Sorry for the audio quality this week, this was digitized off of a cassette tape.)