We have any number of needs and places for people to serve in our parish. We are always looking for Sunday School teachers, for choir members, for ushers, for altar guild members, for youth counselors, and the list goes on. So often we encounter people who would gladly help but who don't believe that they are really any good at doing what needs doing. So they inevitably peel out a wallet to cast a bill toward the cause or they ask if we need refreshments. It made me think of some conversation I read where a woman described how she wanted to help the pro-life cause of her church but feared that she was really not much good at praying or witnessing but she could bake a cookie or throw together a decent casserole. So instead of marching with her fellow pro-life folks, she was going to drop off some homemade treats to help the cause.
How often that happens is beyond tallying. People are convinced they do not have enough money to give, are not good with people and would not know what to say, don't know enough Scripture or have enough answers to witness, do not have compassion to help with the folks hard to love (from those with mental illness to the homeless to people who are threatening in some other way), and so they cannot help but they will bring cookies or sloppy joes or a Jell-O salad for those who can help.
The widow's might tells us that a little can do a lot. Peter was certainly good at putting his foot in his mouth but after chewing on his toes enough he seemed to do well enough at Pentecost. For now knowing what to say, the thing most folks in need treasure most is the ministry of presence, a hand held, time spent together. Witness is not about knowing all the answers. Jesus is enough. If you know Jesus, you can say all that needs to be said. The creed contains just about everything you need to remember and all you need to do is add a few passages. . . and an invitation to go with them to Church and help them through it all. Prayers are not insignificant and they need not be extended literary works to be righteous and effective. To be sure, I am not turning down a good peanut butter cookie or some rum cake or a really fine potato chip encrusted chicken or tater tot casserole. They are all good. But don't say that is all you can do. You can do so much more. We seldom go wanting for food but we need more than bread for the bodies; we need ministries of the Bread of Life. You can do it. Christ will not abandon you to stand on your own. He will not disown your faltering efforts but will complete them. You can do it.
The local parish will always need more Sunday School teachers, choir
members, altar guild members, etc. What the church really needs is
more Christians who are committed to serve Christ in their daily life.
They can witness to their faith in Christ through their words and
actions in their home, at their job, and in their community.
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