This morning I started reading 1 Corinthians, but I didn’t make it past the first three verses. You see, this week I’ll be flying out to ICRS, the International Christian Retail Show. While I’m there I’ll be attending workshops, banquets, and publishers’ events. I’ll also be signing books and speaking. I’ll pretty much be interacting with all levels of Christian Retail–publishers, editors, marketing people, salesmen, book buyers, book sellers, and other authors.
It’s wonderful because I see friends, new and old, and meet some of the people I work with face-to-face. It’s hard because … although I know I shouldn’t seek the approval of others, I want to be appreciated. And while I know God looks at the heart, I never feel smart enough, pretty enough, or talented enough when surrounded by so many “stars.” (In this business that means those who sell lots of book, have amazing ministries, and who are well-known and greatly valued.) These stars have long lines during signings, back-to-back media events, lots of big banners plastered everywhere, highlighting their work. And … then there is the rest of us.
Can you see why I needed to dig into God’s word this morning?
Here is the text: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3, The Amplified Bible
1 PAUL, SUMMONED by the will and purpose of God to be an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church (assembly) of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God’s people), together with all those who in any place call upon and give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3 Grace (favor and spiritual blessing) be to you and [heart] peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The main message/theme God spoke to me this morning is “God CHOOSES holy messengers to speak HIS Word to those chosen BY GOD and called BY GOD.”
I almost left out the word “holy” in that sentence. It’s seems okay for me to consider myself a messenger, but calling myself a holy messenger, seemed to be pushing it. But these verses reminded me of three things:
1. Holiness happens through Jesus. Jesus consecrated, purifies, and makes us holy.
2. My job is to CALL on the name of Jesus.
3. And 1 + 2 = giving honor to the name of Jesus.
After reading these verses a few more times, I also became okay with the idea, especially when I saw the benefits of holy people:
1. They are given worthwhile duties, like being a special messenger.
2. They are connected with other believers local and world-wide.
3. They get grace (special favor and spiritual blessing) from God.
4. They receive heart peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus.
So how does it apply to ICRS?
–What a privilege! I am one of many who have been chosen to be a special messenger of God. One way to look at it, ICRS is a mini-gathering of those God has chosen during our moment of history to spread His Good News.
–Anything I’ve done, great or small, has been through Jesus. The same can be said of the others at the show. Even though there will be a lot of bling and marketing junk, if you look to the core, it’s evident that Jesus has been at work in the heart of His messengers to spread His word, for the glory of His name. Looking at the numerous ways Jesus’ message is going out is like seeing His work on display. How cool is that?!
–My job is to CALL on the name of Jesus. When I’m excited, discouraged, overwhelmed, tired, and joyful. If I’m focused on that, Jesus’ name will be honored through me.
Finally, because of our duties and our connection in God’s body, those at ICRS will get to see a glimpse of God’s will and purpose.
This show should also should be a showplace of God’s grace (special favor and spiritual blessing) and heart peace (from God our Father and the Lord Jesus).
Will it? My attitude change won’t make or break the show, but personally I know that when I accept my calling, applaud God’s work in His assembly, and see the core of Jesus-at-work in the hearts of the men and women … then GRACE and PEACE will flow. It will flow in my heart first. And maybe it will flow to others as I join them in joyfully celebrating God’s calling in them and work through them.
Time to celebrate God at work in the hearts of His messengers everywhere!
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!