Normally, I think I'm going to use this blog to comment on the pastor's sermon; however, this Sunday, that was me. Well, sorta. I gave the sermon, but I'm not the pastor. Sometimes when a pastor has to be gone, they will call me and ask me to preach. This time, it was a church in Maxwell, CA. Sooooo, here's gist of the sermon I gave.
Are you a sheep or a shepherd? Well, truth be known, most of us are a little of each. As members of a congregation, we're mostly sheep--with a dash of shepherd thrown in for flavoring where needed.
But what is your "job" in the congregation? Pastor? Elder? Member of the Finance Committee? Sunday School teacher? In each of these jobs, you are sometimes the shepherd. And if you don't have a job, why don't you? If you all "Let George do it," "it" will never get done, will it?
One time many years ago, I heard a sermon by a wise evangelist (whose name I have long since forgotten) who said it wasn't the shepherd's job to bring in more sheep to the fold. Shepherds don't beget sheep--sheep beget sheep!
It's the shepherd's job to guide, feed, water, protect, shelter. It's not the shepherd's job to produce more sheep. It's yours. So what are you waiting for? Invite your friends that you know need the Lord's help.
It's also your responsibility to provide the funds needed to operate the church. God is the Source, that's 100% true--but are you giving all that He wants you to give? Maybe do a check on this--ask God if you should be donating maybe $5, $10, $100, or more in addition to whatever you already give. If He wants you to give more, He'll provide the way to do it as well.
And time. How much of your time do you give to the Lord? Careful--this is a trick question.
The answer is 100%. Remember that scripture? It's in Colosians 3:23, "Whatever you do, do it readily, as to the Lord and not to men." Actually, there are more than just this one--another one is Ephesians 6:7, and there are dozens of others with indications that, as Christians, everything we do, whether we want it to or not, reflects on God.
But regarding your own church, do you show up at your church on work days? Do you participate in groups that perform work on or for the church, visit those in need of your attention, help build up what needs building, whether spiritually or physically?
Remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30)? We tend to equate talents with artistic gifts--but this passage equates it to money. A talent was the equivalent of the wages of one man for 15 years. Valuable! And your talents (gifts, abilities, time, etc.) are equally valuable.
Okay, now that I've you with provided plenty of fuel for going on a sizeable guilt trip, what you need to do individually is check with God. Don't know if you should be inviting folks to church or leading them to Christ? Ask HIM for help. Not too sure you can squeeze one more dime out of the bank account? Ask God for a plan. Don't think you have the energy or time to participate in the next work day? Maybe He wants to to pray instead. Pray that laborers will be sent for the harvest (Matthew 9:38).
In all things, pray. Ask, trusting that He will answer.