When One Reaches a Few, a Movement is Born
We were moving, again. At this point, we had moved almost a half-dozen times, and that thirteen-year-old boy would move another a half-dozen times in the subsequent fifteen years. But at that age, it was the end of the world. My friends were going to be relegated to a distant memory. After my freshman year of high school, my family and I moved from the urban melting pot of Washington D.C. to the mid-western suburbs of Minneapolis. The culture shock was overwhelming, and the difficulty of finding friends wore me down well into my junior year. Even the one or two neighborhood friends I did manage to make were inaccessible in a school four times as populated than the one I left. However, through one friendship made with the right person; suddenly, my world was opened to an abundance of friends who would eventually call our home the weekly place to gather for laughter, stories, and roasting hot dogs around a bonfire.
In much the same way, Paul entered Corinth with fear and trembling; for it was a town of overwhelming greed, idolatry, and promiscuity. Where could Paul begin? Much like my experience, it was going to take time, prayer, and diligence to evangelize in such a hardened city. Paul met a married couple who owned a leather/tent making firm. It was there that this abundantly educated man would humble himself to the task of working with his hands. This would have been demeaning in Roman culture but would have served to differentiate him from the greedy, deceiving preachers of false doctrine the Corinthians would have grown distrusting of.
Paul understood that there was no such thing as “secular work” for a disciple of Christ (a carpenter Himself). All work is honorable, as it is used for the work of evangelism, and joyfully submitted to the Lord’s Will. This work supported Paul’s ability to minister to the Jews when they congregated on the weekends.
About the time that the Jews were growing frustrated with Paul, he received the support of his apprentices: Timothy and Silas. They brought evangelistic support through their ability to proclaim the Gospel to the Jews and supported Paul with offerings from their ministry journeys. Paul had grown tired too of trying to make disciples of the Jews in the Synagogue. But instead, through a key-man, he was able to find hope.
Although the priests and religious followers of the Synagogue were unreached, Paul baptized and discipled the ruler of the Synagogue. Thus reaching his entire family, and catalyzing the movement of one of the largest churches in the first centuries. As one man, Paul was stretched-thin to support his ministry, to teach to find the catalytic disciple and to shepherd the disciples he made. But the Lord was faithful to His promise that through diligence, teamwork, and producing disciples who multiplied by making more disciples, one of the most lost cities in the known world would eventually contribute to a movement that will reach the entire world for the Gospel Mission.
Questions for Reflection:
- Do you truly believe that your work is significant and opportunistic for Kingdom advance?
- How can you utilize your workplace to establish connections for the purpose of cultivating Gospel Conversations?
- Much like Corinth, no matter how “secular” your workplace is, God has been preparing the hearts of those catalytic disciples around you. The harvest is plentiful. Begin to pray that you would be a willing and equipped laborer, sensitive to find that key-person, through your diligent prayer and love of your neighbors.
- Like Paul, despite being one of the most educated men in his day, he knew loving God and his neighbors would require demeaning himself to “lower” work. Please pray for your own humility and eternal focus, so that you will never be “above” an opportunity to serve.