Friday, January 22, 2010

The Epic of the Cobbler in Corinth

We've started the year here at Southlands with the over-arching theme of 'The Gospel of Multiplication.' "All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing just as it did among you when you first heard of God's grace in all its truth." Col 1:6

As part of this theme, Chris is preaching through the book of Colossians in the morning and I'm doing an evening series on spiritual formation called, 'Grow'. God's intention is that the gospel grows and bears fruit all around the world, and also right here among us. Spiritual formation is really just a clever term for becoming more like Christ and more useful to Him. All of us are called to both.

We can so easily miss the majesty of being used by God everyday, if we have an addiction to the spectacular and the remote. We end up stewarding poorly the good works that God prepared in advance for us to walk in everyday, right here. Scripture says that we are His workmanship. The Greek word is 'poeima'. An epic masterpiece. The thing is though, that our lives often do not feel very epic at all. They possess the rhythm of the all-too-ordinary. They lack the resolution of poetic rhyme or the elevated majesty of the heroic.

Larry Osborne in his book 'The Contrarian's guide to knowing God' brings incredible dignity and validity to what he calls the 'Cobbler in Corinth' - the kind of person who may never have been one of Paul's high impact leaders like Timothy or Titus, but who was transformed by the gospel that Paul preached, stopped visiting the temple prostitutes, began loving his wife in a way unheard of in that time and place, ran his business with scrupulous honesty and opened his house as a meeting place for the Corinthian church. By the grace of God, he grew to be more like Christ and more useful to Him. It may not have been spectacular but it was completely valid and absolutely vital gospel fruit. What makes the Cobbler in Corinth's life an Epic, is that ultimately his poiema plays out as part of God's great Poeima. He, and we, are a part of the unfolding of God's epic masterpiece.

This gives dignity to what may feel like the daily grind of paying mortgages, doing budgets, changing diapers and doing laundry. It gives significance to every decision we make to co-operate with God as He makes us more like Jesus. It strengthens our resolve to keep saying, "Lord, use me," even when we feel used.

John Wimber once said, "We are just change in God's pocket. He can spend us as he pleases."
Am I willing to be spent for God?

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