In a nutshell, I can say without hesitation, that there is plenty to keep us busy! That particular point became painfully clear at our last meeting as we discussed ideas on how to be more involved in the community. The "sticky wicket" is choosing what to focus on. What is most needed and how can the church community best fill that role? The second question to ask is how do we match church members up with volunteer opportunities that match their gifts and passions?
Serving others is definitely part of the Wesleyan tradition. So many ministries were started by early Methodists-schools, hospitals-even Wesley mentioned in his journal going to prisons to see to the needs of those who were incarcerated. Wesley viewed service to others as a natural part of Discipleship. As you change inwardly, that change is reflected outwardly by serving others. If you look at what Jesus did and who he went to and who he talked with there is example after example of service to others. He taught, he fed, he healed and he confronted those in positions of authority. Serving others is clearly considered a natural part of an individual's faith walk. That need is alive and well today, but finding individuals who will do the work can be tough! It's just so much easier to write a check! Someone else will take care of the problem. Our schedules are already so full how could we possibly make time to do something more?
Something more-isn't that the essence of our faith walk? Are we not called to be the eyes that see, the ears that hear, the mouth that speaks, the hands that work, the feet that walk? What compels us to help others and why is that so important? Have we as a church explained this clearly enough?
In Second Corinthians 8, The Message paraphrase says this:
"The heart regulates the hands."Inward compassion shows up through outward action. What are you being asked to do? How can you help? Where can you use your gifts to serve?
Let's expand the initial question a bit. If you were standing beside Jesus on a hillside looking down on your town, what would make you weep? Answer that question and you will have taken your first step towards figuring out where you are called to serve. The need is great yet the workers are few. Take that next step on your faith journey and find a place to serve.
May we all work to turn the tears of sorrow into tears of joy! This, oh Lord, I pray.