Living Water or Stagnant Pool?

Howard Hendricks shares this insight about the value of learning: When I
was a college student — I worked in the college dining hall, and on my way
to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my
professors. Through a window I could see the light on at his desk, morning
after morning.

At night I stayed late at the library to take advantage of evening study
hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o’clock I would again see his desk
light on. He was always pouring over his books.
One day he invited me home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him,
“Would you mind if I asked you a question?”
“Of course not.”
“What keeps you studying? You never seem to stop.”
His answer, “Son, I would rather have my students drink from a running
stream than a stagnant pool.”

See:  Psa 1:1-3; Psa 119:97

A teacher is not there just to acquaint you with the tools of your
trade; a teacher is a tool of your trade, no matter what that trade is. You
never stop needing teachers. The great musicians never stop taking lessons,
never stop trying to improve. The great concert pianist, Arthur Rubinstein,
used to say that if he missed a day of practice, he noticed it in the
quality of his performance. If he missed two days, the critics noticed. And
if he missed three days, the audience noticed.

See:  Psa 25:4-5; Psa 143:8; Psa 143:10; 2 Tim 2:2

And Jesus Christ has provided us with the greatest of Teachers, the Spirit
of Truth who will lead us into all truth, one step at a time if we will but
open our hearts to him.  How often we are distracted by the cares of the
world and turn a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit?  Let us learn the lesson from
Arthur Rubinstein and practice hearing the Holy Spirit every day so that
the world can truly see we have been with the Master Teacher and have
learned our lessons. John 16:13

The Purpose of Our Ministry

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Col. 1:28-29 ESV)

Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32) signifying what kind of death he would die.

We have also given this the somewhat spiritual interpretation of meaning that we should only preach Jesus and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2)–an interpretation that I am not against using. (Maybe it would be more accurate to call this an application, rather than an interpretation.) Anyway, the point is–Him we proclaim.

After 40 years of ministry, teaching the Bible to any who will listen, I am only beginning to understand what this means. I have not failed to preach Jesus and him crucified. I am still moved to tears anytime I talk of the wondrous work of the cross on my behalf. But I am just now coming to understand the fulness of what this means in my ministry and for my daily life.

I am beginning to sense an urgency in the Body of Christ, and I hear many preachers taking on a new tone of warning. This is something that has been lacking for the last two decades as we were lulled into a stupor with our eyes fixed on this world’s goods, listening to those who would sell us and tell us what we thought we wanted to hear.

Now, the emptiness of a self-centered, self-serving life is beginning to take its toll in the lives of many. They have achieved much, but gained little, and are beginning to realize the ledger is not balanced.

If you have any kind of a ministry at all–blogging, writing, talking on the phone, sharing on the street, speaking from the pulpit, whatever–I encourage you to “look on the fields, for they are white to harvest” (John 4:35). Seize every opportunity to speak the truth, to share what the Lord has done in your life, to warn those who are going astray, to encourage those who falling behind. (for an interesting and unique way to quickly encourage others, click here.)

Paul says here that he warns and teaches with all wisdom. I take that verse personally, and believe that I should be teaching and warning with wisdom. But, such is so often not the case. More often than not, I come on like gangbusters, sure that I have the answer for the situation, only to see someone hurt by my good intentions. As a result, I have learned to be quiet, waiting until I “know that I know that I know” that what I have is from the Lord. And I still make mistakes.

But, it’s not about me. It’s about the Lord, and when I can fully learn that lesson and live in its fulness, then I will be more able to see His wisdom as He flows through me in grace towards His people.

I gained an insight just last night while preparing this morning’s message from Phil. 2:13–I can’t get it wrong when serving the Lord. That is liberating for me.

My only goal in all that I do in ministry is “to present everyone mature in Christ.” Hopefully, something you read here will help you in your walk with the Master.

NOTE: This is the first in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Colossians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter one of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: and make it a point to visit everyday.