In response to God's merciful activity, we are to worship by living holistic, God-pleasing lives. Our values and viewpoints are not molded by this age, but are transformed by the Spirit's renewing work. God's grace empowers different forms of service among Christians, but all forms of ministry function to build up the body of Christ. Romans 12:1–8
This Sunday we will all have a chance to share something that many of us have not experienced in a long time: Sunday School. For a short part of our worship service, I will present a mock lesson so that you can see what the children will be learning, and conquer some unknowns that can often keep people from volunteering in a religious education classroom.
For that short time you will become the students. Don’t worry, you won’t have to get up and participate unless you want to, but you do have some homework. I would like you to read the Gospel ahead of time and think about it’s connection to volunteering in our church. As your teacher, I will give you some thoughts to help you get started.
Romans 12: 1-8
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
When I first became a choral director, it felt great to hear the sound of my own voice as I conducted those choirs! But, after the honeymoon period wore off, I began to notice that I wasn’t connecting with the students the way I had dreamt I might. I sought counsel from my Principal, who had known me since I was a child. I asked her what she thought I was doing wrong. She and I went to the same church, so she was not afraid to tell me what was missing and what was too present: I had too much ego and not any heart of service. This really hurt. It hurt because it was true. I humbly left her office and I went into my classroom to pray. I was really empty that day, but when you are empty God can really fill you up! In time, I was able to leave my ego behind and truly live a life of service. I dedicated myself to living as much of my life as I could for others. And when you live for others, you have the spirit of God in you. We all have the spirit of God in us, way before we recognize it! I can see, looking back, that God was preparing me to do His work. Like it says in Romans, I was conformed to this world. I thought of myself more highly than I ought to think! And when I let go of my ego, I was able to discover the gifts that God had given me. He made me a momma who kisses and plays, a wife who tries her best, a teacher who listens and loves, a singer who sings in shops, and He made me brave enough to proclaim that I was His child. What do these gifts equal? They equal the present. They equal the here and now. They equal what I can give.
So, truly, your homework is to look within yourself. Is there something that you are ready to shed? Are you ready to make room for some discoveries? Are you ready to uncover the gifts that God has given you? And, then, are you ready to share those gifts with your church? Maybe you will sing in the choir, or cook for Faith Feasts, or teach (YES, TEACH!). However you choose to share your gifts, God will empower you! May God Bless you and we will see you this weekend.
Director of Children and Family Ministry