How do people look at you when they know that you are Christian? That answer would depend largely on what a person already knew or believed to be true about Christians in general. If they assumed Christians to be kind, or generous, or caring, then they would look to see how you measured up to those expectations. Or on the other hand, if the things that came to mind when they hear "Christian" include being judgmental, self-righteous or narrow-minded, then those would be the kinds of things they would expect to show in your words and actions.
In reality the truth for many of us who love, believe in, and follow Jesus, is a combination of both sides. We believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord and so our lives are basically a "work in progress," where God is continually at work within us. As we travel through life with faith in Jesus, one day we make two steps forward and the next a step back. One day we see ourselves growing in kindness and patience and the next day judgmental behavior shows up again. As Christians we know the truth that we are forgiven sinners, who still continue to struggle with sin.
In one of his letters to the Corinthians Paul writes this,
"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."
While our identity may be as people who believe in and follow Jesus, Paul says that one of the primary ways we live out that identity is as servants of Christ. Not only should Christians be known as servants but they should be known as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have been a pastor here in Dulce for three years and I have come to know many people in our congregation well, and time and time again I see them willing to serve others. I see them serving in their immediate and extended families. I see them serving to meet needs within the community. As individuals, many people in our church are willing servants, going wherever they see a need that they can help to meet.
But what of our congregation? It has been in Dulce for 102 years and while we are the oldest Christian congregation in town, we are not alone here as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a group, are we serving the Lord here in all of the ways that we could be? Are there opportunities in the community where we could join together as sisters and brothers in Christ to serve the Lord in this place?
I think that there may be opportunities for us and that we could live as a group of faithful servants, although I don’t know what those specific opportunities might be. And I believe that finding those needs and filling them will be an essential part of keeping the work of Christ within this congregation alive in Dulce for many years to come.
Paul says that we are "stewards of the mysteries of God," meaning that we know and understand that God saves sinners through the saving work of Jesus. And being servants of Christ is the means to creating opportunities to share that Good News in life-changing ways. May we, as a congregation, continue to grow as servants of Christ.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.