When the pastor became ill, the small rural community gathered to pray for his recovery and ask for God’s guidance during his lengthy absence. Having first looked at all their pastor’s many responsibilities, those present took an inventory of their skills and talents. “I could take over the capital campaign for the new educational center,” offered an accountant.
“I’d be willing to lead bible study,” said a retired librarian. “I could train lectors and help the kids with the Christmas pageant,” volunteered an amateur actor. “We’d like to visit the home-bound and help with social care,” stated a middle-aged couple, recent empty-nesters. “And I’ll get an email list together and give everyone updates about what’s happening at the parish,” said a young computer programmer.
Source: Elizabeth-Anne Stewart
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. 1 Corinthians 12:7
Building the church, is a collective, collaborative effort. Our unique gifts, skills and talents are not just for our own benefit but for the sake of all God’s people (and that’s everybody)!
What are your gifts? What are your skills?
How can you use them to pitch in, and help build the church and the kin-dom?
How can you invest them even further and be an instrument that with others can help heal the world and the planet?
A stranger, exuding joy, went into church one day, a church that was not his own. He mingled about with the parishioners patting them on the back, talking loudly and laughing in a gesture of friendship. The parishioners were shocked with his familiarity and horrified at his “lack of respect” for a place of worship. He was asked to leave.
On the doorstep, he was approached by God who said, “Cheer up, fella, I’ve been trying to get into that church for years!”
Source: Dare to Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord! by Erma Bombeck
in Ocala Star-Banner, February 26, 1970.| 7A
- I cannot imagine a Christian who does not know how to smile. May we joyfully witness to our faith. —Pope Francis, February 4th, 2014
- Evangelization in our time will only take place as the result of contagious joy. —Pope Francis, Message for the 29th World Youth Day, 21st January 2014
- There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. —Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, #6
- An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! —Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, #10
A circuit-riding pastor was galloping down a road to get to church on time. Suddenly his horse stumbled and pitched him to the ground. In the dirt with a broken leg, the pastor called out, “All you saints in heaven, help me get up on my horse!”
Then with superhuman effort, he leaped onto the horse’s back and fell off the other side. Once again, he called to heaven, “All right, just half of you this time.”
Source | David M. Varner, Sunday Funnies to Tickle the Soul
(Xulon Press, 2010) page 44
Would you consider the pastor a faithful person, well-seasoned in the art of prayer? After all, here’s a guy who in the middle of great adversity doesn’t fade, but with confidence calls out. And keeps calling out … with a sense of humour!
Imagine you found yourself in the same situation, what would you have done?
A public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church. He took his woes to God. “They won’t let me in, Lord, because I am a sinner.”
“What are you complaining about?” said God. “They won’t let Me in either.”
Source | Anthony de Mello, Prayer of the Frog: Volume 1
(Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2003) page 105
Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight
(Image: 3rd Revised edition,1990) page 80
We can, as Christians, get narrow and closed-minded, petty, bitter and exclusive. We can become more holy than God where perfection becomes the enemy of the good.
But we can also go long and deep, broad, expansive and inclusive!