2003-03-28 - Spanish Moss
During beach vacations, I always enjoy seeing the lovely Live Oak trees, draped with Spanish Moss. I had thought this moss was always parasitic, but while visiting a Wildlife Refuge recently, I discovered that in actuality, it had been used as furniture stuffing in earlier times. As I pondered that, it occurred to me that we church members are like that. Sometimes we are like parasites, while at other times we are useful, contributing members. *(Please note: I believe there are legitimate times of rest for those who have been serving for long periods; this rest is provided by God to prevent burnout.)
When you go to church, what are the thoughts going through your head? Do they go something like this:/
"I wonder if the pastor's sermon will be any good today"
"I hope the choir sings something different / more traditional / slower / faster."
"I hope the service doesn't last past 12; the restaurants fill up so quickly!" (And believe me, I understand; when I'm eating out, I
hustle to beat the crowds from a nearby 5000-member church!)
Or are you, rather, thinking along these lines:
"Lord use me to bless the pastor and my church family today."
"I wonder what I can do to help Mr. Smith, who is dealing with cancer."
"I'm eager to get to the meeting, to share my idea for reaching our community."
Do you have the mentality that the church is there to fulfill your needs, take care of you and your family etc.? That is partially true, but it's not a one-way street. We each have responsibilities, and we shouldn't be just "takers;" we should all be "givers," as well.
Did you know that in India, some Christians yearn to be ALLOWED to serve? "Untouchables" are deemed by people of other castes, to not be worthy of knowing or serving God, while most of us have the opportunity to freely serve.
God gave every single Christian at least one gift. Some of us are encouragers, while others can teach. Some have a heart for the hurting, while other sisters and brothers are given a knack for leadership. And that's not, by any means, an exhaustive list. Godintends for us to use those gifts to build up His body, and reach out to those who do not yet believe in Christ as their Savior.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NASB) Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Are you a parasite or a fruitful, productive plant in God's Kingdom?