1 John 3:18 - Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
A church leader listed five reasons why lay people are essential to the ongoing life, growth, and future development of the body of Christ.
The reasons are these:
* It's God's plan (see Matthew 28:18-20).
* There are far more lay people than church professionals.
* Lay people can often go where church professionals can't.
* Lay people offer a credible witness; a church worker's or pastor's witness is credible—but it is expected.
* Lay people can follow up daily.
It seems these reasons are applicable to all phases of church or congregational life. Some lay people just "do their thing" with their special gift wherever they are, without fanfare or thought of recognition. They do what they do because they know they are loved and blessed by the Lord. In truth, their lives embody Colossians 3:17. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Take Alex for instance. His special gift is visiting. He visits with people in their homes, in hospitals, at the grocery store, in church. Anywhere. He isn't nosey. He doesn't burden people with his problems. He doesn't visit long. He's just concerned about people and where they're at in life.
Then there's Brenda. Her special gift is encouragement. She's positive, thoughtful, supportive, open-minded, and tolerant of others' ideas and positions on things. She's not pushy, domineering, jealous, or pompous. She's not overly sentimental and doesn't dodge issues. She lives her faith quietly with assurance.
Roger's gift is to witness. His work involves lots of cold calling or speaking with people he's never met. His job isn't easy, but he makes the most of it. In the course of his career, he has probably spoken words of peace and hope to hundreds of wearied and worried people—quietly telling them about what Jesus means to him.
Lastly, there's Millie whose gift is service. She'll help anyone anywhere at anytime by any means possible. Whether it's babysitting, helping prepare meals, working at the local food pantry, or making hospice visits, count her in. Her prayer list is ever growing, and each day she asks God to open doors for her to love and serve others.
These men and women aren't over-zealous religious do-gooders or busybodies looking to outdo or embarrass others by their many activities. They've just taken the Lord's command to serve others to heart. "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 4:10-11).
They just love Jesus, and want to serve Him by serving others.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, lead us by Your Spirit to serve others each day. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, October 1980 issue, "Loved by the Lord ... They Do What They Can" by Jon Suel
1. Are there people in your church who inspire you to do more? How so?
2. Today's Bible verse is short but powerful. Can you give your own definition of it in a few words?
3. How do you find strength to serve others when you feel weak or disinterested in doing so?
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