Friday, February 26, 2010

Who has our attention and affection?

Good morning. There are days, weeks, months and maybe even years when we face things that daily want to destroy us. It is very important in these seasons to remember who we serve and why we serve. It is easy to lose sight of this and allow tiredness and bitterness to drive us from the battlefield. There are a hundred reasons in our flesh why we should not continue on facing some of the garbage we face but the one reason there is to stay overshadows all of that and even make them insignificant if we can keep our eyes fixed on him. The hard part is keep those eyes fixed.

The author of Hebrews spent the first part of his letter establishing Jesus' authority over all things, including the angels. Now he turns his attention to showing that Jesus is even more important than any earthly authorities, even those established by God. This is important for us to know, understand and live because if we put our trust and faith in anything but Jesus we are heading to failure. First we are told to get our thoughts off of other things and get them on Jesus:

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. (Hebrews 3:1)

Then we are told why it does not make any sense to put our faith in any earthly authority, to depend on a man instead of the author of creation:

Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. (3:3-6a)

Obviously the writer was speaking directly of Jesus' authority over Moses because in order for the Jews to grasp the lordship of Jesus they had to let go of Moses. However, I see significance in this passage for those who put so much emphasis on their pastor. Who is the house?

And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. (3:6b)

Allow that to sink in a bit. Obviously we see the danger of the emphasis the Catholics have put in the Pope but do we recognize that same danger when we build ministries on a man or a woman instead of on Jesus? Just as Moses was not the builder of the Israelite nation, no man or woman is the Builder of the Church. Just as Moses was simply a servant, a great one at that, we too are called to be servants. The five-fold ministers are nothing more than servants. We serve in the House that God has built and we serve the Son of the owner of that house. We are not greater than the builder.

This is very important for me as a pastor, that I am constantly reminded that I cannot take any credit or glory for what God is doing with his House. It is important for me to be constantly directing everyone's attention to Jesus. We have a lot of dynamic leaders in the Church. We have a lot of good leaders building great ministries. We have a lot of people making alliances and dedicating themselves to the ministries or leadership of those individuals. We need to be careful because there is danger in these attitudes. It is just as Paul warned the Corinthians:

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

Whether great or small in the eyes of man, each pastor, each minister in the Church is nothing more than a servant in the House that God has built and continues to build. There is only one who deserves our dedicated thoughts and attention. All the servants live to bring him honour and glory. There is only one who we should fix our thoughts, our hearts and our eyes on. There is only one who can complete us and fulfill us. He is greater than all the heavenly host and he is greater than any great leader on this earth. After all, he is the King of kings and Lord of lords and to him we give our full affection. Remember, there is only one who will receive honour from every living creature:

 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11)

The only question that remains for us is are we giving our attention and affection to a servant in the House or to the Son of the Builder?


Anonymous said...

Great Theology lesson my friend! I love your knowledge of historical background, and abilities to point out "Key" significant points and relate them to your subject and title! May I suggest you shorten your posts a bit, this will make them more palatable for the 21st century reader.. I have been advised to do Part I, Part II, and so on.. which I have.. people are in a hurry..
I like your heart... a true Pastor! Coffee was good, so is the post!

Pastor Paul said...

Thank you. It is what it is. I write what is given me to write. I thank you for your advice but I couldn't shorten it even if I wanted to. :-)