August 26, 2013

Carrying the Treasure

            On Sunday I have had the privilege of participating in a wonderful service in Bangkok, celebrating the ordination of Rev. Dr. Thawesak Mahachavaroj. Friends of Central will recall that this faithful servant was ordained on the 16th of June at Journey Community Church, which is housed at Central.  The service today was to recognize that this has occurred and to draw the Christian Churches of Thailand ever closer together.

            It was an international gathering, and the good work that the “Barnabas of Thailand” has engaged around the world, especially among Chinese, was in evidence. Many schools scattered around Southeast Asia are recipients of his support as he has found significant ways to strengthen ministry preparation. Especially moving to me was a group of Karen men who had travelled from Chiang Mai to attend the service. 
            Several seminary presidents were in attendance, and as you might imagine, we congregated to talk shop.  How good to make these wonderful connections and encourage one another!

            I preached on Paul’s great text that describes the servant of God carrying the treasure of Christ in an earthen vessel (2 Corinthians 4:1-7).  While this is the responsibility of all Christians, a particular responsibility falls upon Christian ministers.  Thankfully good interpreters gave me the gift of tongues so that my message could appear in Thai on the screens. (I plan to preach another version of this—probably in English--for Central’s convocation on September 9th).
            Paul compared himself to a clay jar, a simple earthen vessel that could be bought for pennies in the marketplace.  These little vessels were used to store great treasure—such as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed.  Wonderful first century writings were stored in simple clay pots.
Sometimes these vessels carried a little oil and a wick and served as lamps.  The simplicity of the earthen vessel did not dim the light!  Such is the hope of one called to ministry.
Paul knew that he was a frail human; yet he also knew that God desired that the word be made flesh—supremely in Jesus, and in a continuous way, his followers. 
God wants to shine the light of Christ through the consecrated servant.  The minister must be a window through whom persons can see the living Christ.
The fragility of the vessel does not obscure the glory of the gospel—Jesus was also a frail human.  It is God’s mysterious plan to reveal divine glory through human form, and we have been given “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (v. 6).
How grateful I am to represent Central at this good occasion.  Central’s global reach continues to expand, for which we give glory to God.

Molly T. Marshall

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