Thursday, November 7, 2013
A partnership set to prosper
We can safely assume that Friar Tuck is not the kind of picture God was giving Isaiah. Instead, the opposite of this caricature, it could point to a time when God’s people, the Church under the lordship of Jesus, is accorded a greater level of respect and influence.
And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.
WE have seen already that God creates and builds as He wills, with us or without us. Some of what God initiates is change:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19).
Sometimes I wonder if we are waiting for God to do something, without knowing what it would look like if it happened.
However, He chooses to build His kingdom through people. In the Bible, prominent people like Moses are sent into impossible situations. Then there are prophets – Nathan is sent to King David, Jeremiah is sent with a difficult message. Moving down the scale, workers are needed for the harvest field, and sent out by Jesus. Disciples are sent out to make disciples of all kinds of people.
This is the sending of people like you and me. God’s rebuilding is widely distributed, and might look ordinary at first sight, not real growth – like the apologetic shoots of autumn-sown barley.
But that is set to change. Us, the church, feel like we have been in a long winter season, involved in a low-budget, low prestige exercise.
When the tide changes, the change could be dramatic – more resources than we can shake a stick at, and a new respect in the eye of the public. Long awaited, but this new favour brings its own dangers, as Jesus explicitly warned:
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)
That could be harder to handle than the present constraints.