Serving for the Glory of God

Father Damien, a Catholic priest from Belgium, served 16 years as a pastor and physician to a leper colony in Hawaii. The lepers had been deported to the island of Molokai by the government and seeing the miserable conditions, Father Damien volunteered to minister there. During those years of service, he improved water conditions, started two orphanages, and provided spiritual and physical comfort for the people. He contracted leprosy himself in 1884 but refused to leave the island for treatment. He died among the lepers he had been called to serve.
Not everyone is called to serve as radically as Father Damien. However, if you are a believer in Christ, you are a part of the body of Christ. This means that Christ has gifted you to serve the church in some way. He has called you to our community and our world. He has called you to serve for His Glory.
The question is, how do we serve in difficult days like these? When a pandemic is affecting many people, it can create fear, either for others or for ourselves. There have been many changes to plans and the way we do things. Many are feeling emotionally and physically isolated. So the question is not if we should serve others, but rather, how we should serve others.
We obviously want to take necessary precautions, especially for those most vulnerable, but in order to serve, we somehow must engage. We need to act, do, speak, and encourage. We can be thankful for modern day technology to help us to conference call and such. However, we know this doesn't work for everyone. Like someone said, you can watch an animated fireplace on your TV screen but you can't feel the warmth.
So then, how do we serve others practically with the love of Christ? First, we may need to give to God some of our fears. Some of us may have become complacent and it has become easier to stay away and isolate. It may take some prayer and courage to step back in and serve. This may be the most difficult step. Sometimes risk is right. We weigh risks everyday. We consider our priorities over the risks that we have in life. When the Good News of Jesus takes precedence in our lives, then serving Him takes on a little different look. We begin to focus outwardly more and serve others with gladness even when there is some risk.
Second, it is good to understand our strengths and abilities that God has given us in order to serve others. Some of you have a gift of hospitality, others may have mechanical abilities. Some of you are good at listening and encouraging and praying for others. Giving someone a call on the phone to let them know you are thinking about them and praying for them can be really encouraging. For others, maybe they need to have a meal delivered or you can run to the grocery store with a list they give you and deliver it to them.
For some, it means using your technology skills to bring our worship services to those who can't get out. Some may also use their vocal and musical skills to lead people into worship.
Every act of service is also an act of worship. From shoveling snow to working in the kitchen to hanging up folding chairs. We have a wonderful Church who is already serving in so many ways. Let us continue to serve in whatever way that God calls you and welcome people into worship for the glory of God!
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Mark Anderson