Why I Love...and Need the Apostolic Ministry: It Provides a Bulls Eye as Well as Focus

Friday, January 07, 2011

Two: The Apostolic Ministry Provides a Bulls Eye As Well As Focus.

If you're like most people you find it's easy to identify a task that needs to get done, only to find yourself getting distracted by something smaller.  That smaller thing is definitely associated with the bigger task, but you somehow get fixated on that smaller thing so that the bigger task doesn't get completed.  Then you get kind of frustrated, wondering how in the world that happened...perhaps even purposing to do it differently next time so that doesn't happen again.  But then the cycle happens again.

I needed to rearrange some stuff in my shed a week ago. With Christmas comes more Christmas stuff, decorations, lights, etc.  And all those things required more storage space, which required some rearranging in the shed.  This requires moving stuff out and then back in.  The whole process is very much like a live, backyard version of Tetris.  Playing Tetris in my shed required that I move a tub of fasteners (nails, screws, bolts, etc.).  This required the lid to be put back on, which reminded me to gather all the boxes of fasteners lying around the shed in various spots so I could put them in that tub, etc.  

Here's where I took a wrong turn...as always, it seems.  I spotted some fasteners that had been spilled in the tub, which requires me to put them back where they go.  After about a half hour of messing with fasteners, I was out of time and had not completed the job.  It was time for dinner, and too dark to work anymore.  Had I maintained my focus on the bigger task, I would have written down a list of smaller tasks that I can do later...much later...like rearranging the spilled fasteners in the tub.  At least I would have gotten the main task completed then.  Maybe.  Then again, I probably would have gotten fixated next on finding a new and more convenient place for the boogie boards.

In my experience, the apostolic ministry works much in this way, yet more so in my favor than the shed-Tetris game.  Apostolic ministry has helped me to maintain the focus on the bigger task, the bigger picture, the bird's eye view, or the "bulls eye" of ministry.  This was the relationship Paul had with Timothy.  His letters to Timothy, as well as to Titus, both reveal that the bulls eye of their respective local church ministries was to be on training and  teaching people, as well as guarding the gospel.  

The gospel is, of course, the ultimate bulls eye, and the associated tasks Timothy and Titus were supposed to be doing in their local churches flowed directly from the gospel.  That's what you do with the good news...you train people with it, how to live according to it, how it impacts and affects people's relationships with each other, as well as teaching people about it.  All of this, generally speaking, guards the gospel and therefore the people from error, because that would damage their lives.  The apostolic ministry ensures that the gospel is maintained as the bulls eye of ministry.  And apostolic men do that by constantly evaluating what is happening in a local church - all the tasks, relationships, programs, ministries, etc. - and challenging leaders to ensure that the gospel is the bulls eye, so that all the other stuff is really flowing from it and not from somewhere else, like legalism. 

If I didn't have the apostolic ministry in my life and local church, I would have made a massive mess of things, majoring on minors, turning ant hills into mountains, leading everyone to focus more on their parenting methodologies and bible versions,  and spiritualizing my personality idiosyncrasies so that everyone would do ministry my way.  I would be doing these sorts of things rather than focusing on the person and ministry of Jesus Christ and doing what He told us to do.  After all, that is what Jesus Himself told us to do:  "teaching all things I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19).  He provided the bulls eye for me.  The apostolic ministry helps me keep my focus on it.  Thank you Lord for your apostolic ministry to your bride, the church!

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