Working with other believers can be a high-risk enterprise, but there is help, Baptist World Alliance president David Coffey told students and others at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School Tuesday, April 20.
Qualities such as conceit and rivalry can make it easy to get it wrong in relating to believers, he said. “When we are quarrelling, our attitudes spoil our service and draw attention from Jesus Christ.”
A cure can be found in the passage from Philippians 2: 1-11 that advises to “have this mind,” which Jesus had, and serve like Him.
To serve like Jesus, one must relinquish privilege and power, render service and endure a cost, said Coffey, who spent a Sabbatical at Beeson in the 1990s.
“You are born to serve, not be served,” said Coffey, an ordained minister with the Baptist Union of Great Britain since 1967. “Jesus’ hands that performed miracles also washed the disciples’ feet.”
He warned against adopting “I did it my way” as a theme song. “Your theme song needs to be ‘I did it His way,’” Coffey said.
For those who serve like Jesus, he said, there is also a joy to be shared.
“We are disciples of the now and the not yet,” said Coffey, adding that it is easy to despair of the now. Referencing scripture from the book of Revelation, he said that “God has given us a taste of the future, and the best is yet to be.”
In Heaven, he said, “There will be no more evangelical culture wars, no more broken relationships. All will be peaceful in a perfect, beautiful city. This is the glory that we will share.”
Previously general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain for 15 years, Coffey was elected BWA president at the Baptist World Congress in 2005. In 2009, he was appointed the first global ambassador for BMS World Mission, the missionary society founded by William Carey.