Blessed Shareholders in the Gospel

tocks or partner in a business or investment. Lately, my broker has been transferring my shares to prevent significant losses and yield positive results in this roller-coaster financial season. But I have to admit that I have no idea where my money is specifically invested. I don’t usually think about where my funds are invested since my broker is a faithful Christian who wouldn’t endorse a corrupt venture. But writing about it now makes me feel embarrassed that I don’t know what I have partnered in financially. I trust him, so I have given him the green light to move my money around as he sees fit to produce the best results for my goals. I’m sure there are many times when he isn’t certain how long the new investment will work as the market changes. Just so, our spiritual fruit produces the most by simply moving to God’s Spirit, but it’s not always easy to know where to go or what to do. Some people suppose that if you’re a pastor, Bible teacher, missionary, or working in church leadership, you know exactly what the Lord wants you to do. But, because of worldly influences, our temptations, and Satan’s sublime schemes, understanding how, what, and when to act to please the Lord isn’t so clear. Our Christian church and para-church leaders struggle but encourage us with their teaching and writing. One look at Twitter can yield some daily encouragement. This morning I read: “Biblical submission to one another’s needs is not the suppression of gifts, but full expression for mutual benefit.”  “Your best, most loyal friend can help, encourage and counsel you from the outside, but only Jesus, with divine power, works to transform you from the inside.” We need to remind ourselves daily of all our blessings in Christ, using the resources available to us .especially Scripture. And, we are called to share these blessings as investors in the gospel. 

Paul—Passionate Shareholder in the Gospel

Paul made it is his goal to be “a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22) Paul used a business metaphor to describe his mission, but “his end was not to amass wealth, to gain riches and treasures of good things to himself, but [bring] many souls to Christ, who otherwise must have been lost; but being brought to the knowledge of Christ, and salvation by him through his ministry, it was profit to them, and gain to Christ: the metaphor is taken from merchants, who spare no pains, but take every method to acquire gain and profit; the ministers of the word are spiritual merchants, their traffic lies in the souls of men, whom they are studiously and anxiously careful to bring to Christ.” (1)

Paul Reflects Christ’s Teaching

Paul continues, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23) As a shareholder of the gospel, Paul did all he could to invite others to be blessed gospel partners, much as an investor in a successful business practice wants other successful, powerful partners. And there is no more excellent investment than the gospel, which doesn’t change our financial circumstances, but our hearts to thrive with God. A wealthy young man came to Jesus asking, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus turned his eyes toward his material prosperity, which he obviously loved. “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22) This man was unwilling to trade his material wealth for eternal security and riches in Christ’s kingdom. He rejected the invitation to become a shareholder of the gospel. We are called to follow Jesus’s instruction as  shareholders of the gospel of Christ—to do as Paul did—to do whatever is in our power to invite others to share our gospel blessings. Jesus continued to teach his disciples about life in the kingdom of God. “Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.'” (Mark 10:29-30)

Philip Reflects Christ’s Teaching

Philip was one of the twelve apostles who readily responded to the call of Jesus when first addressed to him and brought Nathanael also to Jesus (John 1:43-46). He was one of the apostles who were “scattered abroad” by the persecution that arose after the death of Stephen. He went to Samaria, where he labored as an evangelist with much success. While there, he received a divine command to go south, along the road leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. As he traveled along this road, he was overtaken by a chariot in which sat a man of Ethiopia, the eunuch or chief officer of Queen Candace, who was at that moment reading a portion of the prophecies of Isaiah (53:6-7). Luke writes of this encounter in Acts 8. “And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot.’ So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet… And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth’…Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’…and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:26-40) “Philip was directed to go to a desert. Sometimes God opens a door of opportunity to his ministers in very unlikely places. We should study to do good to those we come into company with by traveling…In reading the word of God, we should often pause, to inquire of whom and of what the sacred writers spoke; but especially our thoughts should be employed about the Redeemer. The Ethiopian was convinced by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, of the exact fulfillment of the Scripture, was made to understand the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom and salvation, and desired to be numbered among the disciples of Christ. Those who seek the truth, and employ their time in searching the Scriptures, will be sure to reap advantages.” (2) Is there any better investment than the gospel? Any greater blessing? If we are true shareholders of the gospel of Christ, we will do whatever is in our power to invite others to share our gospel blessings. Let’s turn our eyes away from the financial markets and material issues to Christ. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

Related Scripture: Proverbs 15:30; 25:25; Isaiah 40:9-11; 52:7; 61:1-3; Nahum 1:15; Matthew 4:23; 24:14; Luke 7:22-23; 1 Corinthian 13:12; Galatians 2:2; 5:7; Philippians 2:16; 3:13-15a; 2 Timothy 4:7-8, 17; Hebrews 12:1-2.

Notes:

  1. Gill, John, “John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible,” 1 Corinthians 9:19-20, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/geb/1-corinthians-9.html  
  2. Henry, Matthew, “Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible, Acts 8:26-40, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mhn/acts-8.html 

April 7, 2022

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