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Monday, June 12, 2006

"Only Servants"

"What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).

In 1954, the very month I was born, Mark and Huldah Buntain, a young couple along with their one year old daughter, arrived in India. Initially they intended to spend just a year in Calcutta, one of the poorest and most populated cities of the world, in short-term evangelistic work. They ended up spending their lives there and over the years developed a ministry known as Calcutta Mission of Mercy.

Mark Buntain passed away in 1989 but his wife Huldah continues in faithful ministry in Calcutta, nearly 52 years after their initial arrival. Yesterday we heard her speak and were blessed by her incredible example of long-term service and faithfulness to the Cause of Christ. She shared a virtual smorgasbord of touching missionary stories.

Photo of Huldah Buntain and daughter, MaureenWe noticed a lady was sitting directly in front of us who appeared to also be a visitor in the church but as Huldah Buntain spoke she introduced her as her daughter Maureen.  I whispered to Brooksyne, "Would she be the little girl I taught at mission school?"  

You see, in 1976 I was the recreational director and lifeguard at a school for missionary children in Springfield, Missouri.  In our discussion that followed the service we learned that indeed Maureen did attend this two week school of missions with her parents.  She now lives with her husband and family in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.

It was so interesting to visit with her 30 years later. Actually she doesn't even remember me and I suppose very few of the missionary children do from that very short time together.  That's the way it is with a lot of our service for the Lord. This week Brooksyne is teaching a Vacation Bible School class. Will all the children who visit remember her thirty years from now?  Probably not.  And actually there are a lot of people who have had an impact on my life I don't recall, but that doesn't negate their labor.

Our word of encouragement today is for all involved in any form of ministry.  (That should be all of you who claim Christ as your Lord.)  Christian ministry is the effort to impact our God-ordained sphere of influence for Christ and eternity for whatever time period God appoints, whether brief or long.

The Lord has assigned to each of us a task and we have one purpose. We are all only servants, through whom others come to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. Some of us plant, some of us water. Let us all stay faithful!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Father, I want to be a fellow worker in the kingdom of God.  May I not be driven by earthly reward, worldly fame or self-gratification, but may I always have a servant's heart like those of Paul and Apollos and countless others throughout all time.  As one worker plants and another waters I recognize that You are the One who makes all things grow.  Grow me into the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ, as I faithfully serve You all the days of my life.

"Little Is Much When God Is In It" (mp3)  This version is a very southern gospel style but has great words and is sure sung with meaning!

Several times I've mentioned an area that has large mansions where I drive my Amish friend to work. Here's a photo I took this morning of one across the street from where he's working today. Now here's a perspective – Most of us reading this message are actually a lot closer in lifestyle to this than so many in the world. Yesterday Mrs. Buntain shared about a child taken to an Indian hospital where it was common to see two patients in the bed and two under the bed.  Imagine that scene the next time you go to your local hospital.
Earthly mansion

Finally today, we saw this as we drove home from church yesterday.

Photo of Lancaster County Camel

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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