In the last round of our preaching series on DO church, BE church, LIVE church, we heard the stories of two reluctant recruits, Moses and Esther, and one very eager recruit, Stephen. All three were needed to step up and take on a role that they had not anticipated. Yet, for different reasons, they were exactly the right person to fill a need that improved the lives of God’s people.
This week, we begin round three of this series. We also launch our annual stewardship campaign. Over the next three weeks, we will consider what is being asked of us at this critical time in the life of our church. What roles are we being asked to fill? What are we being asked to give to strengthen and expand our ministries, missions, and outreach? How we are being called to step up and act in ways that will touch and change the lives of our members and those in the communities we serve?
Over the past three months, I have been impressed to see how much you all love this church and how important this congregation is to you. I have heard stories of the way that you have supported and cared for one another. I have seen the ways in which this congregation rallies and springs into action to respond to a need in the church, in the community or even in the world. I have witnessed how you literally feed one another at community and congregational meals and the ways that you break bread and share your lives with one another at tables other than the communion table on a regular basis.
In all these ways and many more, we are DOing, BEing, and LIVE-ing church.
On Sunday, we will hear the story of the disciples coming to Jesus and pleading with him to increase their faith. Jesus had been teaching them about what it means to lead a life of faith, what will be required of them. He is teaching them how they are to relate to and treat those around them. The disciples are overwhelmed with all that Jesus is telling them they will be asked to do. They will be called on to care for and protect those in the community, especially those who are new to the faith community, and to keep them from falling into sin. They are to forgive those who have wronged them. Not once but repeatedly. They feel inadequate to the challenge. They are not sure that they can do what Jesus asking them to do.
But here is the interesting thing: They don’t say “No, I can’t do that.” Instead, they say, “Lord, increase our faith.” Increase our faith so that we can do all you are asking us to do. Increase our faith so that we can be the people you need us to be. Increase our faith, so that we can witness to the great things God is doing. Increase our faith, so that, like you we can be God’s vehicles of love, grace, forgiveness, and justice.
Jesus tells them all they need is faith the size of a mustard seed, and they will be able to do great things for God’s kin-dom. I believe that we are all called to do great things for God. I also know that to rise up and respond to that challenge will require a leap of faith. As we begin this season of prayerfully discerning what our gifts of time, talent, treasure, and tithes will be, we may find ourselves struggling with what it is we have to let us begin by joining together and praying, “Lord, increase our faith.”
Hope to see you on Sunday, as together we continue to explore what it means for us to Do Church, Be Church, and Live Church!
Your Partner in Ministry,