I don’t know if it is lazy familiarity or rather if it is God’s persistent call on my life. I don’t know if it is good or bad. I don’t know what to make of these verses, which meant so much to me once, and which have returned with startling power and freshness as though I had never seen them before.
I was headed to meetings in Dusseldorf, Germany and doing the bible study “last minute” on the plane from Dublin. We were supposed to be looking at 1 Thessalonians but I got “click happy”, moving rapidly from one thought and cross reference to another, and ended up in 1 Corinthians*. (Internet habits becoming real habits.)
The topic for the meetings was “laboring” and there is a lot we can apply from 1 Corinthians. “Jews look for signs and Greeks look for wisdom.” Nothing has changed there. We still have people who demand physical (scientific) “Proof” and others who insist we navigate their mental maze and solve their intellectual puzzles. I’ve attempted both at one time or another with only modest success. Paul did neither, preferring to talk about Jesus and that embarrassing crucifixion and impossible resurrection. We could do worse.
The second thing that hit me that morning was more personal. Paul asks them, “When you were called, how many of you were wise, like the world is wise, and how many of you were important, special, somehow better than, worthy of being called by God to his service?” The answer could be a neon sign on the Las Vegas strip,
These were ordinary people, the unremarkable, and yet God had drawn them to himself and in turn had already, and intended to continue to, put them to use.
It is this reminder to them that is a reminder to me, and an encouragement, for you see, I have always been cognizant of my shortcomings. Stephanie feels the same way alongside the spiritual powerhouses in Lifesprings. These last years, traveling all over Europe, finding ourselves in meetings where we feel we don’t belong, attempting things beyond our wildest dreams, (and seeing God do them), stretched beyond our abilities, and all the while knowing we are mere Corinthians, neither wise nor special, ordinary… and yet called.
Forty years ago these verses gave a young man hope and guidance. Today they do the same for a grandpa. We are indeed ordinary, and just as certainly…commissioned by God to his service.
* Mined from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 ‘Lots more to learn in these few verses.