Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Given: You ARE a gift from God to the world

Monthly theme: Vocation

Reading time: two minutes

The world needs Jesus. God gave them you. Hmmm.

This business of vocation, especially for those called into the Office of the Ministry, is puzzling at times, and always humbling. Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder what God was thinking?

We’ve been discussing the Lord’s use of bread as an instrument of miraculous blessing as an analogy for the way He sends ordinary people like us to do His work of the kingdom. Glenn Packiam’s book “Blessed Broken Given” has made me think about this all month.

Bread doesn’t look like much. Very ordinary. I think Jesus might have given us a clue about our call into ministry in Mark’s account of the feeding of the five thousand. Do you remember Jesus’ response when the disciples told Him to send the people away so they could find something to eat?

Amazing. Jesus said, “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37).

You and I are not the Bread of Life. Jesus is. But we’re bearers of what the world needs more than anything else.

When Jesus sent the disciples out two by two (remember: Don’t Try This Alone!) He told them to do two things: preach the good news of the kingdom, and to heal the sick. The miraculous healing that they were able to offer was evidence that the Lord Himself was still doing the work of ministry.

That applies to the proclamation of the Word also, doesn’t it?

My favorite definition of Christian joy is that it is the response of the soul to the beauty of Christ at work. When the disciples returned from their mission service, they returned with joy over what God had done through their humble efforts (see Luke 10).

The lesson of Pentecost is the same. Jesus promised that His work would continue, even after He had ascended. Before the coming of the Holy Spirit, the disciples didn’t have much to offer.

But once the Spirit had come, the work of Jesus continued in all its power, just as Jesus promised.

The gift the world needs is Jesus. “God so loved the world that he gave [Greek: edoken) His one and only Son” (John 3:16).

How interesting that in His love for the world, “It was he who gave [Greek: edoken) some to be apostles, some to be prophets…” (Ephesians 4:11).

You are God’s gift to the world.

Humbling, isn’t it? Paul certainly thought so. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

The gift is Jesus. The gifts are the Word and the Sacraments. God gave you to bear the gifts. “You give them something to eat.

It’s humbling. It’s encouraging.

God give you courage and humility this week.

Thanks for reading.

Next week: Blessed and Broken and Given and Blessed…