Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of how follosers of Jesus are individually gifted to do God’s work.
Collecgtively, imagine the power of this. Millions of individual Christians, with God-given gifts, joining together in a global community called the church. Imagine the impact on this world and its needs!
Unfortunately, too often the Christian community, the church, is like being at a football game. Nine exhausted people who are badly in need of a rest, being watched by 10,000 people badly in need of exercise. We assume that paying someone with a gift of leadership, or teaching, or exhortation, etc. excuses the rest of us from exercising our gifts.
But this isn’t God’s vision for the church. It is one where we all have a part to play in God’s work…we all have a life of ministry to live. Once Paul used the analogy of a body – saying a church is made up of many members or body parts that need each other. Whenever something is not working well within a Christian community, it is often because one part of the body is not functioning properly.
But this Christian community that we are all invited to play our part in must not become focused on itself. By its very nature and calling its focus must be on the wider world. Followers of Jesus are also learning that their homes, their neighbourhoods and their places of employment are all areas where God is at work and where there are opportunities to serve other people.
There is a story about a pastor of big church in downtown Atlanta who was approached one Sunday by a young woman who was upset. This woman explained how she had come across a person who was really down on their luck and was looking for a place to stay to get back on his feet until he could get another job. The woman had called the church office several times trying to see if the church could do something for this man, but she had had no success with the office. Eventually she took the man into her own home and helped him get a new job. “Don’t you think pastor”, said the young woman, “that the church should have done something for this guy.” The pastor looked at him and said “It sounds like the church did.”
There is work to be done both within the Christian community and in the wider world and of course you can’t separate them. When the church, the body of Christ, is functioning properly, then the wider world will be served as well.
To grasp the length and breadth and height and depth of this work is the goal of a lifetime. We are a community of learners…learning the full extent of God’s love for us, learning the full extent of our sinfulness, learning the full extent of our gifts, and learning the full extent of the ministry that God is calling us to. Ministry is living a life using our God given gifts to do God’s work both within the Christian community and in the wider world.
Question: Have you fallen into the trap of professionalizing ministry before? What do you think it takes to change this common pitfall?