The Joy of Service

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6.9-10

            We live in an incredibly broken world.  Those of us within the church recognize our brokenness and are seeking to heal.  When we actually take time to deeply reflect on our own degree of brokenness it can quickly become overwhelming.  It is far easier to simply move through our day and put this reflection on the back burner.  We can even start to convince ourselves our brokenness isn’t actually that bad.  In doing this we rob ourselves of the full humanity Christ is offering us through the healing which comes from forgiveness and reconnection with our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. 

            Many state the point of our Christian faith is salvation.  I don’t disagree, however, I think it is important to go a bit deeper.  What are we being saved from?  What are we being saved for?  When we say salvation we need to flesh that out for the full power to take effect.  We are saved from the depraved place of sin-filled separation from God.  We are saved from a severed relationship with Christ and with each other. 

            This pushes the second question, “What are we saved for?”  The answer to that question is what is truly beautiful about our faith.  Salvation is two-tiered.  Not only are we welcomed back into Christ’s joyfully open arms, be we are also welcomed into participation with Christ’s salvific work in the world.  We are called into service for Christ’s sake.  This call makes it essential that we fully embrace our restored relationship with Christ: mind, body, and soul. 

            At this point you may be thinking, “Okay Pastor, what are you getting at?”  Here it is.  If you are not experiencing a pull to serve others, you have yet to integrate the full power of your salvation and you are missing out on healing.  It is said, one has fully learned something when they can teach it to others.  We do a disservice to the Gospel if we only hope to make it halfway through our salvation, the “salvation from” side of the equation.  We must continue moving forward allowing God to complete the work in us through “salvation for”. 

            This will fundamentally be the decider of whether we slowly fade away as a congregation or whether we complete our work of transformation.  There is no shortage of gospel ministry to do in our neighborhood.  The shortage is disciples with a burning in their bones to complete their salvation.  As your pastor, it seems that the Holy Spirit puts one ministry opportunity after the next in front of me.  I find myself sighing while I struggle to imagine who among us could take it on.  Perhaps I have short-changed you and the Spirit.  Perhaps I have failed in my imagination of what we can do.  To ensure that this is not the case, I commit to no longer holding back opportunities for service.  I will assertively bring them to the Elders, Deacons, and the congregation as a whole, trusting the Spirit will convict us and call us into the ripe fields. 

If we stay in the place of being a collection of people only hoping for our own healing we have already been defeated.  I understand the struggle here.  When we are sick, it is near impossible to imagine helping anyone else.  We develop tunnel vision and can’t even see or realize the needs around us.  This is a remarkably effective tool of the evil one to sabotage the power of Christian community.  Let us as a congregation confidently ground ourselves in Christ’s healing forgiveness and out of that, continue our salvation through becoming witnesses to the world of healing by offering it to all we meet.   May it be so!

 

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Jeremiah Knabe

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