We who are many have all been given different gifts by the Spirit, and it is only when we work together as one – in conjunction with each other – with the same goal of bringing about God’s Kingdom here and now that these gifts are exemplified. And often times in congregations we see those gifts and how they can benefit us as a congregation instead of how they can benefit us as a wider community beyond the one branch on the olive tree that we are.
The United Methodist Church considers the local church – that’s us – as the most effective tool for making followers of our Lord Jesus Christ so that we may go out and transform the world. And what a wonderful task that indeed is. That is what actually moves us from being a church in the sense of a noun to being the church a church in the sense of a verb.
Because this beautiful building, without the people of God filling it and then more importantly going out into the world as beacons of light and hope for all, is then just another abandoned structure, an empty warehouse, or a factory that no longer hums with machinery.
Paul also covers all the bases pretty well with his descriptions of what it is that we as followers of Jesus can do. We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us, and if your gift is speaking the words of our faith, then prophesy in accordance with your faith bringing the message of Jesus to all; if it is serving, then serve with a joyful heart; if it is teaching, then teach all these little ones; if it is to encourage, then give the encouragement those in our community need; if it is giving, then give generously because our Lord loves a cheerful giver; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it joyfully. And the more we do these things, like practicing teaching, giving, leading, serving, and all the others, the better we will get at them and the closer to perfection we will be.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then we will be able to see and accept what God’s will is – God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.”
And that will be realized through our actions, beloveds, in all that we do and in all that we are. Then each of us will be out in the world sharing the goodness and the graces that God has given us openly with others, so much so, that others will see and seek the goodness, blessings, and graces that they themselves have received from the Lord our God.
Peace, Pastor David