SERVING GOD AND SERVING OTHERS
The Christian life is often described by the apostle Paul as a life of faith, hope, and love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3) – This is the Christian life in action.
Luke wrote the book of Acts, in which he records the ongoing acts of the resurrected Jesus and his work through the Holy Spirit in the church. Luke’s account in Acts records the activity of the Holy Spirit as he led the members of the church in carrying out the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:16-20). Those who believed Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit, and we see their life of worship, discipleship, and reaching out to others with the love of God.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42) This activity wasn’t something which was devised by humans. It was inspired and led by the Holy Spirit. In this book, we see some dramatic events occurring as the apostles carried out the mission entrusted to them. But we also see Christians going about their everyday lives, and as they follow the lead of the Spirit, serving in various ways in the life of the church.
In Acts 9 & 10, we read of Peter raising Dorcas from death. Here was a woman well known for “always doing good and helping the poor” (9:36). Following this, Peter stayed in Joppa with a tanner named Simon (9:43). He welcomed Peter into his home and showed hospitality. Peter was then sent to baptise Cornelius, a Roman centurion. “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (10:2).
Here we find the simple acts of service with Christians living out their faith. “Faith, Hope, and Love in Action” is Jesus in action, through the Holy Spirit, in the lives of all Christians.
Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches, and without him, we can do nothing. At times, we may feel that we’re not doing all that much. It’s easy to feel discouraged, to become weary in our Christian walk. The challenges we face can appear quite daunting. As Paul reminded Timothy:
For this reason, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands, for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6-7 NRSV)
Each day we need God’s Spirit to be rekindled and renewed, to participate in Jesus’ faith, hope, and love. We never forget that Jesus is God’s greatest gift to us.
Imagine it’s January 2024, and you’re looking back on the previous year. What would you hope for Emmaus and our local congregations? I pray we see a healthier church, with Spirit-led worship, devoted discipleship. And like Dorcas, may we always be doing good, as we put Jesus’ faith, hope, and love in action as we serve one another and our neighbours.
We have different ministries within the body according to our gifting, and we know that it is God who will add the increase. Every good gift comes from the Father above, and he, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are with us always.
Within the Emmaus movement we know that there is a sponsorship programme. Will you be able to sponsor someone this year? Then in January next year you will look back and say that you were faithful in that area.
Let’s continue to ask for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us as we go about our everyday lives, and in this way, our service to God in participating with Jesus. Faith, hope, and love will certainly result in the activity and actions which will bring glory to our great God, because they will be his acts!
Lorna Laister (Community Spiritual Director)