Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Decent Order of Grace - Part 13 - Forethought

"When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me. But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries." 1 Cor 16:3-9 NASB

Paul's organization has a decent order to it. Notice the spiritual autonomy given. The flexibility. He directed them to pick people but he reserved the right to send the people.

'If it is fitting' there talks about 'drawing down the scale'. Paul takes a look at the coming situation and guesses it's weigh but has a contingency plan in case the scales start to tip in one direction or the other.

Paul anticipates grace adjustments and the need for God's direction in the coming situation. He is willing to be the answer if necessary but does not take the whole project on himself. He is not a micro-manager but he keeps a hand on the project and does not let it go entirely either.

He leaves no possibility of failure. This thing is going to happen it is just a matter of when, how and with whom it will happen.

Paul is on the move and he does not function from deficit motivation. It is all 'Win / Win' because God is in it.

The mission centers around people and relationships and not the project itself. The project is a vehicle to be with people and Paul is sensitive to people to give them a 'heads up' so that they can plan. 'Perhaps I will stay with you' leaves room for housing plans... 'or even spend the winter' tells them to prepare for a possible lengthy stay... 'I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost' gives them a target time period. The Lord's coming may be imminent but not Paul's.

Paul doesn't just want to be there for a few minutes or days. He wants time to be with people. He wants to leave knowing the children's names... after many prayers, raps, bible times and meals together.

He sees life as ministry and that ministry has a wide door of effectiveness. Yes, There will be problems and maybe people who generate problems but ministry has impact we can't measure because it is done by faith. Faith pleases God... Biblical Christ centered faith.

Much can be learned about directing troop movement by studying David and Joshua. They were men who led armies. Much can be learned about directing volunteers by studying Paul. Gracious leadership is needed. It is needed wherever there are initiators and responders.

Fear is a powerful tool but what will that produce? The promise of promotion is often the carrot dangled to get things done but that eventually produces power hungry leadership. Gracious order weeds out lust and carnal motivators because it promises a cross not a prize. It strengthens relationships not lust patterns.

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