A Stroll At Leisure With God

Stewards of the Mysteries of God

In my reading today, a phrase in a verse I have read hundreds of times literally jumped off the page. I love how the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word that He inspired. Love it!

Here is the verse: “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and
stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1 NASB, emphasis mine).

As I just said, I know I have read that verse a lot, but I never really noticed that final phrase.

Of course, most of us are well versed in the fact that we are servants of God. We may not DO everything that the Lord tells us to do all the time, but at least we are aware of what we need to do.

For example, this morning, we are having a workday at church. It begins with a breakfast. Anne is preparing it. She is an awesome servant of God. And I appreciate her doing this very much. The pancakes she is preparing (and believe me, they rival any that I eat at The Original Pancake House when I meet Conner there for staff meeting) are awesome.

The other folks who are coming to help are servants as well. Duane has been working for weeks trying to repair the heater in our baptistery. He is an electrician by trade, and he knows his trade well, but getting that heater fixed has been a big challenge for him. He left me a message yesterday that he is close to having it ready to go. This is another example of an act of service.

Believe me. I could list a lot more folks in our church family. I love them deeply.

I appreciate Anne and Duane and everyone who will be coming today. And, by the way, I will be there, but I am not going to do anything that will get me into trouble as far as my shoulder or fatigue is concerned. Don’t worry. AND, I know that everyone will understand this. No problem.

But here is my point: we understand service, at least somewhat. But Paul goes further. He claims that he is a steward of the mysteries of God.


In other words, there is a lot more about God that we DON’T know than what we do. AND negotiating mystery is a HUGE part of our calling.

I can’t tell you how affirming and encouraging this is for me today.

I will tell you that I am increasingly uncomfortable with pastors or teachers who claim that they have every board nailed down when it comes to all the doctrines of God, especially end times and healing.

It angers me. It is an affront to God and to Jesus. Jesus said, “Even the Son of Man does not know the day or hour” (John paraphrase).

And, as far as healing is concerned, some are uncomfortable with the whole concept of the sovereignty of God as if everyone somehow deserves to be healed based on a faulty interpretation of Isaiah 53 and other passages.

I could elaborate on both of these issues and add many more doctrines to it, but it is not our responsibility to know everything! It is impossible anyway. Right? Only God knows everything.

It is our responsibility to be stewards of what we don’t know AND to live with mystery!

This reminds me of the instruction I was given prior to my oral exams for the PhD. program at Southwestern. As part of my right of passage in that degree, I had to sit in a room with four professors ALL DAY to answer any question they threw at me in any area of homiletics or pastoral ministry (my major and minor, respectively in the doctoral program).

Think about that. Believe me. I did and quaked in my boots.

Here was the counsel I received prior to taking that exam: if you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t try to fake it. Just say, “I don’t know.”

I think we as Christians would have a lot more integrity with a lost and dying world if we didn’t try to put ourselves forward as people who have the answers for everything, like Job’s so-called friends.

Like Jeremiah in chapter 32 of his prophecy (I read this chapter this morning as well), we just obey God even though we don’t understand and then we ask Him in private. If He chooses to answer as He did with the prophet, it is all well and good.

If not, we trust Him anyhow.

Lord, I thank You for the call to service and all the servants who will be serving You today, but thank You also for mystery. I don’t understand a lot of what is going on in my life or in the world or what You are doing these days, but I choose to put my hand in Yours and take the next step today. Amen.
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