A while ago I was feeling a bit restless and started an emotional tirade against the current material we were covering in our small group bible study. The material was fine and dandy but in my opinion seemed to be a regurgitation of what we had just covered the previous year. Great material, but not enough time and energy spent in application and letting it sink in. Sometimes we are probably guilty of assuming that biblical principles can be a real part of our life as easy as downloading an App on your iPhone. So I was worried that the same thing was taking place with this next study and there would be no true growth. The particular conversation that got me frustrated was over the idea of doing something extraordinary for God. The idea was presented that having a good marriage was extraordinary. Another idea, which seems to be trendy and was popularized by Chuck Colson and seems to be a driving force behind Q, is the cultural mandate. This is a big idea, but kinda says that Genesis 1:28 commands us to have authority over all of creation, and this has developed into why christians should engage in and excel in all aspects of creation (politics, scientific pursuits, literature, etc). The way it applies here is that no longer is our job separate from the rest of our lives, but it is part of our calling. We are supposed to excel at work. This was presented as another option for being “extraordinary”. There were a ton of side conversations like, should we be judging “extraordinary” by todays cultural standards or what. But I basically took the view that although a solid marriage is undoubtably very important and worth significant effort, and that “renewing” some aspect of culture through your vocation are worthy pursuits, somehow I just didn’t think that would be sufficient when sitting before God. Anyway, somehow I found myself around the campfire in the midst of an ad-lib tirade about how I want to be overjoyed, and ecstatic, when I die because of this this huge posse of believers behind me that I somehow played a role in bringing into the Christian flock. I felt like everything that was being presented were in no way extraordinary, but actually more represented standard assumptions about the way Christians should live their life. I wanted something truly extraordinary. So the part that got everyones feathers ruffled was when I said I wanted to present these people to God as somehow a reflection of my works for him. And of course being a solid calvinistic group they were appalled that I wanted to claim some type of credit for playing a role in these followers lives, and that i would boast about it before God made it even worse. So when I came across this verse today I was reminded of that night by the fire.
I Thessalonians 2:
19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
Those are some strong words and i love it. Hope, Joy, Crown, Glory, Joy. All of these emotions welled up within Paul as he ponders sitting in front of Jesus and what will give him Joy. The Thessalonian believers in my opinion were the extraordinary works that Paul was going to be thrilled to present to God. I really like this. It’s not boasting in works, but kinda. It’s similar to finding that perfect gift for a loved one, that gift that you know he or she is going to absolutely LOVE. And your not happy because you found it or did something to get it. Your thrilled because you know how its going to make that person feel. That was spirit I was trying to convey and I want to be the driving thought behind my extraordinary deeds. So i guess in closing, go ahead, boast in your works, even though those are dangerous words in the protestant circles.