GodReflection: The Ultimate IN Sider.
You may have ten thousand mentors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers. I gave birth to you in Christ Jesus through the gospel, so I encourage you to follow my example. This is why I’ve sent Timothy to you; he’s my loved and trusted child in the Lord; he’ll remind you about my way of life in Christ Jesus. He’ll teach the same way as I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:15-17).
This week we leave the Ephesian letter written from Roman house arrest, but we remain with his in Christ lessons. Fortunately for Paul, his entire ministry was not spent inside jail. Now let’s go back several years to Paul’s recent departure from Christ-followers in Corinth.
One of the apostle’s first church plants takes place in the City of Corinth. He leaves there to carry news of Jesus’ new kingdom to the city of Ephesus. After his arrival in Ephesus, he writes back to his friends in the Corinth church to remind them once again of their privilege position in Christ.
His message is one that needs to ring in my ears and one that calls my heart to closer fellowship with the Holy. It is a message of the importance of who directs my walk-through life so that I can be sure I remain in the company of Jesus.
Maybe it isn’t extreme exaggeration for him to remind me that I may have ten-thousand mentors in Christ (vs.15). At this point in my own history, I can scan the Christian horizon and not only discover the multitudes of Christians across history, but also find there are tens of thousands who currently trust Jesus as their Lord on the globe’s continents of our twenty-first century. In a sense, both groups are a great army of mentors to aid in my Christian walk.
But then there are the few unique people in our lives. Those are the fathers and mothers (biological or not) who played key role to give us birth in Christ. They are the fathers (and mothers) who gave birth to (me) in Christ Jesus through the gospel (vs17). These are my true heroes. Paul is right I don’t have many fathers (and mothers). Most of us can list the names of those people on a finger or two or perhaps on one hand.
It is from their sacrifice that I came to the place where I can be in Christ and know him as the only guide who can and will be my competent navigator across this life and on into my life after death. It is not the self-indulgent but rather the self-sacrificing who make it possible for us to experience the safety of our in Christ state.
Two closing thoughts.
First, what penetrates Paul’s New Testament Letters is the message that our in Christ state is only made possible when our fathers, mothers, and mentors draw us with them under the Holy Canopy of Creator Father who is the composite of Father, Son, and Spirit.
And second, due to our insider position in Christ, we find it is from a sense of the gratitude that come into the reality of our family status with Holy God who offers a secure cover of protection under the Triad-Father, that places us—of all people—in the position to serve as fathers, mothers, and mentors to all who cross our pathway. We can be used by The Father to change the outsider into an in Christ insider.
Can you think of someone who might be looking for a father or a mentor? How about a mother? Might we be the person they seek?
Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Looking for a Father or a Mentor? How About a Mother?