“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
When I was a young Christian, time was not precious to me since I had an abundant supply. If I could not get to it today or tomorrow, I could always do it later. Many of my long term goals were placed in the “time for it later” category. Now I am an older Christian and a grandfather of 3. My “time for it later” category is now labeled “may never get to it.” All this is to say that time is becoming more precious to me and Paul’s exhortation is becoming more pressing.
I am feeling a little homesick. My Georgia family misses my Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey families. Video conferences with the various branches of the family only make the distance more painful, especially seeing how fast the grandkids change. So, I ask myself rather urgently, what am I doing in Georgia? I answer in Paul’s words, “Making the best use of (my remaining) time”, or doing “the will of the Lord.” I accepted your call to Westminster because I thought I was a fit for the congregation. I could see how my gifts and experience would mesh with your needs and potential - and I see such great potential here! I do so desire that my remaining years of gospel ministry be both faithful and fruitful.
We are growing as a congregation, inviting others home for our Homecoming and proposing a new vision and ministry structure for Westminster. Will that ‘work’? What are we expecting? Will the perfect ministry structure cause the congregation to thrive? No, certainly not. A different form of ministry or a new vision is empty and fruitless without the living blood of faithful Christians flowing through its veins. The vision could be improved and the ministry structure could exhibit greater wisdom, but we do not trust in those things. We rely upon the Spirit of God to bring growth.
I am a strong advocate for an every-member, gifted and fitted ministry. What does this mean? Every member has been saved to serve and gifted by God to minister in some way to the church or the world. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Every member should, therefore, use his or her gift in a manner that is fitted to his or her own personality. Find what you are good at and do it for the glory of God!
A ministry structure provides an opportunity for you to exercise your gifts, but it is not the only opportunity. Many members serve the Lord outside the structure of the local church; others find their service tied to their young families or to their aging parents. Family matters. Gifted and fitted ministry is not asking you to neglect your family or even to serve within the structure of the church. As you find time, discover your gifts and see the opportunity, serve to the glory of God in whatever situation He has placed you! I am not asking you to do more ministry but to do ministry better.
I plan to preach about the church and teach about its ministry structure. I want to encourage God’s people to follow the vision, but it takes the Spirit to raise a church. Will you pray with me for God to bless our church, our ministry, our people and our future? I am here for a reason and so are you. Together, as we place ourselves in God’s hands, He can do great things.
I miss my grand twins, Jack and Harvey. Recently when Aaron, their father, came home from work, I saw them light up like a Christmas tree! It made me think. As much as I would like to be there for them and to enjoy them every day, God has me where He wants me and He has them where they are supposed to be—with their Dad. God has His people everywhere. God has placed His people where they are according to His plan for His glory. We need to bloom where we are planted.