Biblical Boasting

Biblical Boasting

This past week Tim Keller passed away.  Tim Keller was a pastor in NY, a prolific author, a conference speaker, co-founder of the Gospel Coalition, and what seemed to be a great family man.  He was loved by many and his ministry helped many.  I have most of his books and have enjoyed them all.  He was way smarter than me but his insights of how the gospel effected all areas of life were very valuable.  He was not a perfect man, nor was he a perfect theologian, but he used by God in a great way.  
When it was announced that he passed away, I was sitting at my desk wasting time.  Not my proudest moment.  I noticed that he was only 72 and the thought crossed my mind that he could have had many more years of fruitful ministry.  Why, I wondered, did God take him and leave someone like me to fight for the kingdom?  Pastor Keller was amazing at addressing the culture and challenging everyone with the truth of the gospel. He could address culture issues in such a sweet but effective way for the kingdom.  Me, not so gifted.  That is not false humility.  It is the truth.  We could use Pastor Keller’s voice in the years to come.
Maybe you feel that way.  What is it that you truly offer that no one else can?  Most of us, if we were forced to say, believe that we just above average.  We like to think that because we work hard, are self aware, and that we think of others, that we fall just above the average.  Maybe we are not a superstar but we do all right.  Thousands may not mourn our passing, as they did Pastor Keller, but there are a decent number who will miss us.  Our work can replace us, but we would be missed.  Our families would grieve and the kingdom of God would lose a faithful servant.  Just above average sounds about right.
Paul seems to say different.  “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written,  ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” I Cor 1:26-31.
What I found helpful in these verses was that, in many ways, God took me and my identity issues, out of the equation.  Ministering to others is not about what the world, or even myself, believes I have to offer.  This is not about my place in the world.  Ministry is about my relationship with Jesus.  Because I am in him, he makes me wise. Because I am in him, I will make an impact for the kingdom of God. Think about what you are simply because you have been changed by Jesus.  You are the light of the world.  You are the salt of the earth.  On top of that, the Holy Spirit has chosen specific spiritual gifts for you so that you are able to minister to others.  He determines the scope and breadth of each of our ministries.  Each of us may plant seeds, or water, or we may be part of the harvest but all increases are truly due to the power of the Lord.
If given a vote, I still would vote to keep Tim Keller here but God’s vote is the only one who counts.  He has left me here for very specific reasons.  I, Lord willing, will continue to be faithful and will continue to seek to use the gifts that he has given to me.  I will trust him to determine the scope and breadth of how he uses my efforts.  This truly is not about me.  It was and is and always will be about him alone.  Looking back on it now, above average might have been a reach.  Looking at it Biblically, a servant of Jesus Christ sounds amazing.

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