Blog from Kristy Engel…

What next?

Over the last several weeks, since Dr. King retired, the congregation has spent a lot of time discussing the question, “What next?,” in terms of the church’s work in the community. We have heard from various speakers, read books, watched videos, and talked about the possibilities for future service. Now it is time for us to act.

When Jesus was asked, “who is our neighbor?” his response was to share the story of the Good Samaritan. If you remember, two other community leaders walked by or ignored the needs they saw in front of them. They chose to keep to themselves and to consider their own personal needs before the needs the man attacked by robbers. It was not until the Samaritan man passed by, a man whose community was despised in the region, that help was offered. Offered by someone who was not the obvious suspect to be of service.

I think that we, too, often only consider the people that we feel have the perfect skills or titles to be the ones who should serve our community. The reality is just the opposite. All of us…whether pastors or missionaries, deacons or ushers…are commanded by Jesus to love the people around us and show them care through service.

Let’s remember what happens when we don’t do that…

In Matthew 25: 31-46, we read Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. In this story, all nations are gathered before the Son of Man and He separates the people into two categories: those who served the hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick, and imprisoned (i.e., the least) and those who did not see or serve those people. There wasn’t an in-between position of, “well, I thought about it.” In fact, in this parable, many of those who were put into the category of the goats, (those who did NOT serve), were surprised. They thought they had it made and would be those whom Jesus selected. Instead, Jesus explains through the parable that it’s not about WHO you are as much as what you do with what you are given.

Your title or position is not what pleases God.

Your career doesn’t guarantee glory.

You are not limited in service to others because of education, social standing, or finances.

Your responsibility in serving others isn’t based on whether they are grateful.

Serving others is not meant to happen only when it’s convenient for you.

All of us who call ourselves Christians are called to serve in love. Not because it is expected of us or because someone (other than Jesus) tells us that we should do something. Not because it looks good on a resume or because people in church will think more highly of us. Not even because it makes us feel good.

We are called to serve others and to love others because Jesus first showed love to us. Jesus is our example, and we cannot forget the sacrifice made on our behalf or assume that someone else will show love to another in need. Each of us has the responsibility to reflect both the love and the light of Jesus. Not only when it is convenient, easy, or beneficial to us.

Always.

So, back to the question that started this newsletter:

What next?

What will you do to show love to people around and within the church? How will you stretch yourself, step out of your comfort zone, and see how God can work through that willingness?

Pray about it, please. We can all do a bit more and some of us have been sitting and watching others do the work. The work is for everyone, and God has already uniquely gifted you to be of service to others. Let’s each of us do our part.