By: Bishop Scott Jones On 4/26/2012
Christianity is a way of life. It is a whole set of practices, behaviors and feelings that arise out of a deep faith commitment.
Faith is the way we decide how we are going to live—what is our ultimate value and to whom do we belong.
Christians are people who know there is a God and have committed their lives to being disciples of Jesus Christ. We believe that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19), and we want to be a part of God’s plan of salvation, both for ourselves and for the sake of the whole world.
Toward that end, we participate in the means of God’s grace.
We worship weekly. We pray daily. We study the scripture daily. We give with extravagant generosity. We witness for Christ by verbally sharing our faith and inviting others into the way of salvation.
When someone commits their life to Christ, they are baptized into the body of Christ, which is the Church. If they are baptized or confirmed into The United Methodist Church, or they transfer their membership into our church, we ask them if they will practice these means of grace: prayers, presence, gifts, witness and service.
One of the least understood points is that service to Christ is in fact a means of grace.
Many of us have taken mission trips where we journeyed a long distance, usually paying our own costs, and spent time serving others. Sometimes we build houses or clean up after a storm or run a Vacation Bible School or prepare a camp for the summer. In each case, the mission-trip participants are a blessing to those they serve.
But, as many of you will attest, the mission-trip participants are blessed themselves.
That is the deep paradox of the gospel. Jesus said, “All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them.” (Matthew 16:25, Common English Bible) When we serve God’s purposes, we are blessed.
So, the important question for all believers is this: How is your service to God going?
The church is not a club where your membership means a few hours a week. It is instead a community God uses to help you in this way of life.
Our lives have many parts to them, and we are called to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength in each place. Ask yourself these questions:
Am I a good steward of my time, making the greatest contribution I can to the kingdom of God?
In most cases, we will answer that we spend too much time on entertainment. If we watched less TV and spent more time in helping the poor, we would increase our blessings.
At the same time, self care is crucial. Christ told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and finding time for adequate re-creation and rest is crucial to our long-term service to God.
How is your service to God these days?