Compassion in Action
As we companion our confirmation class throughout the year, we will be shaping our worship with the same themes that we are teaching the class. The theme for November is Mission and Stewardship. When I searched for “Mission” on Pintrest.com hundreds of ideas and images popped up. There were lots of wonderful photos and posters, but the one that struck me the most was a yellow post-it note saying “Compassion without action is just observation”.
Then, I searched on Pinterest for “Stewardship”. The image that caught my eye was a beautifully sketched tree with gorgeous, vibrant colors filling its limbs. The text above the tree read: “Where your treasure is, your heart will be also”. This comes at the end of Luke 12 (parallel to Matthew 6) in a sermon Jesus is giving the disciples about worry. Jesus, however, does not merely just tell the disciples (and us) to not worry because the Good Shepherd will tend to his flock. There’s also a call to action in verse 33: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor”.
Recently a friend of mine attended some lectures at her church that were given by Father John Hurley, the Pope’s “Missionary of Mercy” during the “Jubilee Year of Mercy”. In his three days of talks he reiterated many of Pope Francis’ hopes for the year. But the most profound thing he said as far as I’m concerned is: “You can be a believer, without being a disciple…”
In the growing numbers of SBNR’s (Spiritual but not religious) we are losing not only regular church attendance, Sunday school participation and stewardship, we are losing the activity of doing works of mercy as a response to the gospel and its’ call on our lives.When Pope Francis launched
the Year of Mercy last year, he called his church to “rediscover and continue doing works of mercy; spiritually and corporally”. While the language of ‘doing works of mercy’ and ‘corporally’ are not so common in Protestant churches, the message from our Catholic brothers and sisters is that in
order to be a true follower of Jesus, we must seek to grow our faith and actively love and serve others through mission.
Elder Dan Keoppel preached about this a few weeks ago where he called all of us to not only be believers but also disciples of Christ. He proclaimed “It’s easy for us to respond to a new crisis
with spending for a relief effort. It’s harder for us to intentionally give, to the glory of God and in private. We give so that this church can engage in mission; so that we have a place that we can
pray together; so that we can come together and worship with music. We give so that we may give glory to God.”
If we are teaching the future members of this church, the value and necessity of mission and stewardship then we’d better lead by example. All of us deeply care about hands-on mission, but not all of us are doing it, for the sake of Jesus Christ on a regular intentional basis.
November 13th is your time to jump in feet first. Every year the deacons have done a coat drive and combined it with the Saturday St. John’s Luncheon. It’s a big undertaking to organize and run the coat drive, yet only a few hands each year make it happen. It’s uncomfortable for some who have not come face to face with the eyes of poverty. It’s uncomfortable for some to feed others when we have so much abundance. It’s also overwhelming to help another try on and take home a coat, that used to be yours. It’s all a little challenging at first but then also highly rewarding and faith-building, spiritually and corporally.
Muster the strength. Make it a priority. Be a BELIEVER and a DISCIPLE…if you dare.
Feeding and clothing Christ’s own with you,