Dear Flock and Friends of Knollwood,
If you have been brought to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and have been redeemed from sin and destruction, I have a serious question for you: What has Christ redeemed you for? Yes, I know; you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition; however hear the question: What new life purposes in Christ has God ransomed & reconciled you for? Often Christians focus so much on what we are saved from while ignoring or forgetting the new purpose and mission for the new life in Christ.
Earlier last month, I was struck by Paul’s description of his calling. He repeatedly says his calling is a “stewardship from God given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known” (Col 1:25, italics mine). Again in Ephesians 3:2, it is the “stewardship of God’s grace given to me for you.” Paul was given a new mission not for himself but for others. The message was loud and clear: “Harris Bond, understand your calling. You were called into Sylacauga – not merely for your own enjoyment of a “job” or the enjoyment of your family for your own pleasure – but for the sake of others in Sylacauga, to make known the love of Christ Jesus, as He is offered to us in the Gospel.” I realized the inertia of Self to subtly be satisfied with my own relative comforts. How easily I can structure my time and energies for my own routines and not to make the most of opportunities for others. How grateful I am for this personal sting from God’s Word, because I see a much bigger and better direction God calls me.
But this does not apply just to pastors. This stewardship “to me for you” applies to every disciple of Christ. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:20). Friend, understand your calling in Christ Jesus! You were called into your present station in life, not for your own enjoyment merely in your job or even your own family – but for the sake of others where you live, to make known the love of Christ as He is offered to us in the Gospel.” To borrow language from Paul Tripp, “shrink-wrapping” your work-life, your family-life, your recreation-life, your church-life down to the size of your own preferences and pleasures may look normal but it is a poison in the Kingdom of God. It is dangerous precisely because it is so subtle and acceptable.
What does this look like practically? It means intentionally “locking in” for specific people to invest in your life. It means opening up your family life – whether you are a retired couple or a young family with children – for others to “come in” and share in your life. It means making Lord’s Day worship a first priority, as well as other “body-life” opportunities. It means risking “personal boundaries” by asking a friend about the state of their soul. It means finding ways to engage your community; if you don’t have many natural ways find some, or if you do then make the most of the time you already have.
May I suggest a couple of ministry opportunities right before us? Volunteer yourself for either or both of our children’s outreach events this month: VBS at Knollwood July 8-12 or our joint-outreach with Marble City Baptist Church, Wow-tastic Wednesdays in July.
Grace and peace,