Pastor’s Post for Sunday, June 26th – THAT NASTY “C” WORD
THAT NASTY “C” WORD
Dear friends in Christ:
There is a “nasty word” in the life of the church and it starts with the letter “c.” It is a word that can get people angry, and make them resent the pastor or other church leaders. It is a word we seldom, if ever, hear pastors in our part of the church talk about. That word is COMMITMENT.
Jesus addressed the issue of commitment with a person he called to be a disciple in this Sunday’s Gospel from Luke 9. Luke writes, “To another He (Jesus) said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Commitment is, as they say, “where the rubber hits the road” when it comes to the Christian life and responding to God’s call to be the church. It’s not that making commitments makes us somehow more worthy of God’s favor! Not by a long shot. Jesus has already made us worthy by the free gift of forgiveness He earned for us through His suffering, death and resurrection on the cross.
We are much like the tormented individual Jesus healed of demonic possession in Luke 8. Jesus literally gave the man his life back. He did nothing to earn this gift. Indeed he was so tormented there was nothing he could do except receive God’s healing through Christ. Then, upon being healed, the Lord gives this “proto-apostle” a mission: “go and tell everyone what God has done for you!” And here is the clincher. He did! Recently a friend of mine raised an interesting question: How do you get people to get excited and committed to actually doing what God has called them to do in Christ? Maybe one way is to invite people to self-assess their own level of commitment in response to the grace and call of their Lord and savior.
Let me invite and encourage you to do that now. Certainly we all have important things to do in our lives. But we are also making choices about what is important in our lives. How would you assess your level of commitment to doing God’s work at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church?
The Bible tells that there are seven critical areas that deserve our regular Christian spiritual self-assessment, not unlike the vital signs your doctor assesses for your physical health. These are (1) attendance at Sunday worship, (2) participation in a group Bible study, (3) daily personal prayer, (4) every day moral conduct, (5) invitational evangelism and (6) giving our financial support (offerings), and (7) serving in a volunteer ministry. How would you assess yourself in each of these six areas of the Christian life? Take some time to prayerfully think through what God has done for you and how He has called you. Consider using this grid in a group setting or at home devotions. As Jesus clearly teaches, the rubber hits the road in the Christian life with our commitment.
EVALUATE YOURSELF: Committed? Luke warm? Uncommitted?
Sunday worship ____________ ____________ _____________
Bible study ____________ ____________ _____________
Daily personal prayer ____________ ____________ _____________
Every day morality ____________ ____________ _____________
Inviting people to church ____________ ____________ _____________
Giving money ____________ ____________ _____________
Volunteer ministry ____________ ____________ _____________
Pastor Joe Hughes
Voice & text: 217-898-9063