Tuesday, May 30, 2017

For the Sake of the Whole


Scripture
1 Peter 4:10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 

Observation

In the faith community we are to show hospitality and serve one another. God gives gifts to each member of the community so that they may be shared among all. Talents and abilities are never to be used for the individual good, but are entrusted to be used for the sake of the whole. 

Application

We live in a society that doesn’t often think about the community as a whole. Lately I’ve been disturbed as I think about the ways in which we treat people and things as disposable. Driving down the highways of Kansas City I’m stunned when I realize how many landmarks from just thirty years ago, no longer exist. Shopping malls flattened, restaurants torn down, and houses removed by the desire for greater progress. But is it really greater progress? In the spaces where the malls used to be there are simply open fields of dirt and gravel. What used to be communities are now vacant lands and somehow we embrace the idea that things can come and go so rapidly that nothing really matters. 

Maybe I’m feeling a bit nostalgic because I grew up in Europe. I used to go and play on castle ruins as a child. Buildings have been in existence for hundreds of years. The same gelato stand down the street from our house is still there, nearly fifty years later! But not so in America. It’s highly unlikely that we discover anything that remains from ten to twenty years ago, let alone forty to fifty. 

Maybe I’m just getting older and I wish everything would quit changing so quickly, but I believe that there is something here that the church and Christians must pay attention to. All of this rapid change and disposability is detrimental to building community. Suddenly we find ourselves grasping onto our talents and using them for our own personal good. We are afraid to share because we’re not so sure what things are going to be like down the road and little by little, the community of faith begins to disintegrate and little, if nothing is left.

I use the word “intentional” quite a bit, but I do that because I think it’s necessary. The world has encroached upon Christianity in many ways and unless we are intentional about building protective barriers to the infection, we will be in trouble. This is not a removal of ourselves from the world, but instead a spiritual self-discipline of intentionality. That’s what we read about in I Peter. The individual who is growing spiritually must practice self-discipline and a part of that self-discipline is humbling oneself to a community of faith. It is bringing ones talents and abilities and using them for the sake of others. Growing beyond the mind-set of the world, intentionally going against the currents of society, we sacrificially give of ourselves for the sake of the whole. God did not endow certain people with particular gifts for them to be hoarded or used for their own personal gain. They are to be used for the blessing of community.

Learning to serve one-another in a disposable world will take intentional spiritual discipline. This is the call of discipleship and stewardship. Let us live intentionally, for the sake of the whole. 

Prayer

Lord, your grace overwhelms. We live in gratitude for all that you have done. Please help me to use what you have placed in my hands for the whole.  Amen.


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