Pastor John Elmore, Jr.
Are We Doing What We Say?
One of the things we do when we join the Methodist Church is we take membership vows that express our commitment to both Christ and the local church. We promise to follow Jesus, accept Him and the teachings of Scripture, rejecting sin and evil and participate in the ministry of the church through our Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness. Most importantly this is a claiming and reaffirming of our Communion with God. We are expressing our part of a community, the local church and its ministry in the community in which we live. Next time you hear these vows make sure you take a moment to listen and ponder them and reaffirm your own commitment to Christ and the local church.
One of the areas in those vows I get more questions about is Service, what does serving Christ and others look like, and why is it so important. I know this is an area that makes me tick, but I also know it is vital for all Christians. So let's look to scripture.
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV) - "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
Peter makes it clear we have received our gifts for a couple of distinct purposes, serving others and to bring praise to God. It's not about any person or group receiving attention but about God receiving Glory. Yes, we struggle at times remembering it's about God and not about us. We say we know that but we still manage to get that order mixed up.
It is an amazing thing to see God get the glory through people serving when they have gone with the right heart. The transforming power of Jesus Christ is on display in the lives of those who have traded selfishness for selflessness. We do that by moving away from the norm where people try to glorify only themselves and pointing that glory toward God. That difference is important! People notice, people then examine seeking why? What they will ultimately see is the life-changing nature of a relationship with Jesus Christ. It validates our faith in Christ in front of others.
Let me encourage you to go and do exactly what we all promised to do in our vows. Go and serve, live out your faith by serving. Give of yourself so others might see what God is doing in you and ultimately through you as you Love God and Love Others building communion with God and community with others all around you.