22 February 2014

Opening Credits

Have you ever just stayed in your seat long enough to watch the credits of a movie?  I know I never did….until we had kids.  My daughters LOVE the credits! And yes, we watch ALL the credits. After all, sometimes there are bloopers and out-takes interspersed among the long lists of names, and sometimes I even get a kick out of some the lines in the credits themselves! Like “second tall man,” or “unnamed corpse” (followed by a name, of course). I can see someone somewhere saying, “Look Mom! That’s me! I’m the second tall man! I’d better start working on my Oscar speech!” But those credits are very significant to the vast team of people that it takes produce any kind of movie production. Every person on that long list of names had a role in making that production what it was.

Open up to the end of any of Paul’s letters, and you’ll likely find a similar list of names. There’s not a great deal of description to most of the names either. It’s as though Paul is adding a “credits” section to his letter!
"Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers." —Philemon 23-24
I read Philemon to my family recently, and I was reminded again at the end of a very simple truth that comes up often in Scripture. It’s a truth that doesn’t really “jump off the page” like some others, but here it is: 
 Paul believed in teamwork.
He needed a scribe, messengers, someone to run errands, and even a team doctor! We don’t know exactly what role everybody played, but each one filled an important one. The main thing Paul wanted us to know about these guys is that they were his Team. Very seldom do you find Paul without an assortment of helpers in his travels, and Paul is always very careful to mention each one by name.
So, what’s my point? God has called some to carry His message in an official capacity (such as Pastors, Missionaries, Seminarians, etc.), but those people are no more important than those who help them carry out their work in a wide variety of ways. Not everyone can be Moses, but anyone in the camp could help him hold up his arms. Not everyone can be Elijah, but anyone can prepare a meal or offer temporary shelter. Not everyone can be Paul, but anyone can bring the books and parchments or send encouragement. We readily recognize Moses, Elijah and Paul, but God made sure we also recognized Aaron and Hur, the widow at Zarephath, and a whole host of names scattered throughout the Roman empire.

I’m so grateful to be on God’s team of messengers carrying His Good News to the world, but I’m also thankful for the support team God has given our family. There are too many to list here, but each one has invested themselves in God’s work in the ways in which He has gifted them.  In God’s narrative describing the lives of those who come to faith in Him in Wales,  your contribution has placed you in His Book for eternity!  Your service to Him will never be forgotten, and He will reward you far beyond mere name recognition.

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