People think they will be happy if they take and possess stuff. But Jesus teaches the opposite. He said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20: 35) We experienced it once again this past Friday when we gave and served the community through Fall Festival.
As I was working in my office on Friday afternoon, I could hear the New Life members outside who had come early to set up for Fall Festival. When I left my office at about 6:15pm and went to the church parking lot, everything was pretty much ready to host the community. I saw the entire church coming together to serve the community with love and joy. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
We have been doing this for almost fifteen years now. We started small with about ten game booths. In order to advertise the event to our community, we prepared fliers and went door to door to hand them out. Now, we don’t do this anymore because everyone in the community knows about it and expects us to do it each year. We had a couple of hundred people come to the event in the earlier years but now there are thousands. The parking lot is full and crowded and we don’t even count.
I usually just walk around to see how everyone is doing as I pick up some trash here and there. At times, I stop by at different booths to talk with New Life members while playing the games they have come up with. And my highlight of the night is always seeing New Life members joyfully serving the community. This is important to me because I am a pastor who teaches and preaches what is in the Bible. And seeing the joyful faces of those who serve the hardest is confirmation to me that what the Bible says is true. Through this my conviction and faith in the Bible gets reinforced.
Sadly, I did not see several New Life families at Fall Festival. I wondered where they were when we were having this church-wide event to serve the community. Were they sick? Then it is understandable. Were they terribly busy? Then it is legitimate. But were they doing their own thing, not cooperating with what New Life is trying to do and going against the direction of their pastor? If so, then it is not good. And I can’t help but to wonder how they will ever grow spiritually if this is not just one isolated incident, but a pattern in their life.
Church is not a social club. It is the body and bride of Jesus Christ that God personally created. And when we make the decision to become a member of a local church, we enter into a covenant with God and with each other to be loyal and faithful in fulfilling our responsibilities. We do this as we enjoy the God-given blessings and privileges of being in a community of believers. Pastors are to lay down their lives to love and serve their members. Members are to respect and obey the words their pastor gives them. If we do this, we will become healthy and the church will become strong.
So, if you came out on Friday evening to serve the community in the name of Jesus, thank you. May the Lord bless you abundantly.
If you could not come out to serve this year because you were sick or busy, I totally understand. I pray that you will get better or your schedule will change so that you can serve next time.
However, if you chose not to come out because you wanted to do your own thing, I urge you to examine your heart to see if it is in the right place. If you sense any kind of negative spirit in you, come to Jesus and take care of it before it gets too late.
I say this because I care and love you. Let’s remember the words that our Lord Jesus said: “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
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