For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a person’s gift is prophesying, let them use it in proportion to their faith. If it is serving, let them serve; if it is teaching, let them teach; if it is encouraging, let them encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let them give generously; if it is leadership, let them govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let them do it cheerfully. Romans 12:3-8
私は、自分に与えられた恵みによって、あなたがたひとりひとりに言います。だれでも、思うべき限度を越えて思い上がってはいけません。いや、むしろ、神がおのおのに分け与えてくださった信仰の量りに応じて、慎み深い考え方をしなさい。一つのからだには多くの器官があって、すべての器官が同じ働きはしないのと同じように、大ぜいいる私たちも、キリストにあって一つのからだであり、ひとりひとり互いに器官なのです。私たちは、与えられた恵みに従って、異なった賜物を持っているので、もしそれが預言であれば、その信仰に応じて預言しなさい。奉仕であれば奉仕し、教える人であれば教えなさい。 勧めをする人であれば勧め、分け与える人は惜しまずに分け与え、指導する人は熱心に指導し、慈善を行う人は喜んでそれをしなさい。 ローマ１２：３−８
In our text for this morning, the church is compared to a human body, with many parts, each part having its own function and work to do. As Christ – the head, directs and inspires us – the members, we become a healthy body, living and serving within our context. The question for many of us during this “stay home, stay healthy” time of COVID-19 is…. “How can we function as the hands and feet of Jesus? We’re all stuck in our homes and can’t really reach out to others. How can we fulfill our responsibility and serve as part of the body of Christ?”
I was reminded this past week of a formula that was shared with me by Pastor John Notehelfer during a chapel message back in my seminary days. He said that God often combines the following elements together in order for His body, the church, to function properly:
An available Christian + a needy person + God’s timing = God’s work
You might use other words for the end result such as salvation, mission, miracle, ministry, etc., but the point is that God’s will and work is accomplished when available believers are placed by God in a position to help needy persons.
We don’t always know WHO the needy person is. Sometimes it’s obvious – such as a homeless individual or someone with other visible needs. Sometimes the needs are unseen – spiritual, emotional, or financial. But we know this for certain – needy people are ALL around us!
Scripture promises that God will work. It’s God’s will that NONE should perish, that ALL would come to a knowledge of salvation. It’s also clear that God cares about our physical needs and emotional and financial concerns as well.
So the only question left in this formula is: “Am I available to be used by God?” The question is not: “Am I talented?” or “Am I trained well enough…?” or “Am I suitable for this service?” but instead…. “Am I available?” If you are, God will surely put you to use. But be careful when you tell God that you’re available… you may be called into service!
So back to COVID-19. How can this work NOW? It’s true, we can’t function in all the ways that we are accustomed to. We aren’t able to reach out in all the familiar ways. But let’s tell the Lord, “I’m still available during this ‘stay home, stay healthy’ period. How can I serve you and others today?” You might just be surprised by God’s timing… and by the ways that God leads you to help those that are needy. A phone call? A note? An errand run? You’ll know when it happens!
(the above is a summary of the message shared via our ZOOM worship time this past Sunday, May 3rd, by Pastor Tim)