From the Vicarage – March 2014
It’s not long until “A Passion for Life.” Our teams at church are beginning to prepare for all the events, publicity is being printed, people are praying, expectation is growing. So, as we approach our mission week, what should we expect the outcomes to be? What should we pray for? What will success look like? Let’s be clear.
1. Faithfulness to the work which Christ has given us.
If Jesus was to say something to us at the end of the mission week, what would you like him to say? We might hope he’d say “thank you for working hard to make the events happen” or “you did really well at your organisation and planning.” But the words we want to hear Jesus speak are “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful…” (Matthew 25:21).
Faithfulness to the message of the gospel must be our highest goal and expectation. Paul reminded the church in Corinth “it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Will we be faithful? The opposite of being faithful is to be ashamed. But Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “ I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Let’s have high expectations of faithfulness.
2. Expect God to be faithful.
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful.” 2 Samuel 22:26
As we are faithful to the message of Christ, God is faithful to his promises. It’s a great encouragement to be faithful when we are promised by God that he’ll work in amazing ways.
3. Expect rejoicing in heaven.
Let’s imagine that only one person comes to put their trust in Christ and begins to follow him. We would, of course, like to see more than one person, but just say, only one comes to know Christ. We might be disappointed. All that hard work for only one soul?
How should we reflect on numbers? Do you remember Jesus’ punchline to the parable of the lost sheep? He tells his disciples that “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7). It’s not great numbers but our faithfulness, God’s faithfulness and angels rejoicing over each individual which matters.
4. Expect people to unite.
There are many ways in which mission brings people together. Our event teams will need to work out what needs to be done to make things happen and overcome difficulties; the two congregations of Holy Trinity and Calvary Church will unite in new ways; those who come to faith in Christ will join church and grow in knowledge, love and faith.
Psalm 133 verse 1 reminds us “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
So let’s expect faithfulness, rejoicing and a growing unity. With love and prayer. Neil