"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother,
he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot
love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4: 19 – 21 (NIV)
I have mentioned before to people who have never met you all, and online, that this is one of the best fellowships we could have ever been appointed to. You have been so warm and welcoming and loving to us that I think we were actually surprised. There are so many churches and organizations that have cliques and people who want to undermine or detract from the mission of the church: reaching people for Jesus. They don’t do this intentionally, but because of any disturbance within a group, it will cause the focus to come off of the mission.
Of course, Satan loves it when the train goes off the rails; it just makes his job that much easier. Sometimes, it’s a group that thinks they should make all of the decisions of the church, and I’m not talking about an Administrative Board. It could be a small group that meets to study the Bible. They start talking among themselves about who should be in charge or what direction the church should be going. It can manifest in gossip or murmuring. All it takes for Satan to gain a foothold is for a few people to whisper into other people’s ears questions of skills or motives of those in charge to cause turmoil. Trust me, I’ve seen it done. Even to the pastor!
That’s why the Methodist system is made up of checks and balances, similar to the way our system of governance was set up. The Lay Leadership (Nominating) Committee are the ones who contact people to serve on various committees. They should seek people prayerfully, and the person asked should also be in prayer for guidance when deciding whether to accept or decline. I have seen more than one church that has had an influx of new members who wanted to serve, and the older servants, who had wanted new blood, were reluctant to hand over any responsibilities. I get it. We like for people to prove themselves. However, like the rookie who has been called up into the big leagues, just because they strike out the first few times at bat doesn’t mean they don’t need some encouragement. They should be allowed to get the experience they need to be the next generation of leaders. Failure is one of the best ways to gain the knowledge needed to move forward.
As Jesus people, we need to find ways to encourage each other and not undermine their efforts to be a part of the church at large. We all have different backgrounds, whether in other churches, organizations, work, or school. What we all do have is the common denominator of being redeemed children of God. And, if we believe that to be true, then we need to live it out in loving one another as we love God. It’s pretty plain, if we treat people with disrespect and try to undermine what they are doing in the Kingdom, then we probably don’t love them…or God. I know, that’s harsh, but I didn’t say it; Jesus and John have said as much.
My desire is that all of you will continue in your love for one another as you have from the time we came into your presence. You have treated us wonderfully, and I pray that God will bless you for your willingness to accept us, flaws and all. So, until we are all called home, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and will need to build the body of Christ up each and every day, in our prayers, words, and deeds. May you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day, a very safe Memorial Day, and God bless.
(Oh, Dona and I will be gone Memorial Day Weekend. Our Granddaughter, Kyra, is graduating that Saturday in Wheelersburg. We’ll miss you but know that we leave you in good hands.)