We Aim to Serve
Which side of the fence do you fall on? Is it the side that everyone gathers together to lift one another up or do you tend to remain seated all alone? Think about it for a moment and then choose a side that best suits you. After all, we always tend to choose sides, but who is making the actual decision? Are you taking a stand by standing apart from others by being autonomous or do you like to rally the team together joining forces to encourage one another? Is there peer pressure at play or are you prone to being indecisive? Just what are the factors involved?
As a Christian we sometimes play both sides of the fence pending on the situation at hand or we can be called to stand up for someone or something that needs to be addressed. Today, however, I am going to focus on the Women’s Ministry and our call from God to serve on a united front.
Women’s Ministry is such a beautiful gift! We are called to serve, but the ramifications of this action are endless. It is a community made up of women from all different backgrounds who are bound together in love for honoring God. This fellowship is a garden that needs to be tended to; thus, pruned regularly, to encourage one another during our walk with God. It is a friendship as well as an obligation. It is sowed in love and it produces a rich vibrant harvest.
Let’s look at the meaning of fellowship for a moment. It is a gathering at a specific location and for a unified purpose. I am not talking about gathering together to chat with your group of friends over a cup of coffee. There is a purpose that forms fellowship and comes out of it. This is not a topical discussion, but rather a heart issue. We are the hands and feet of the church. We gather to meet these needs. It is so vital a cause that God has called us to throughout His Word. We do it for love as pointed out in 1 John 3:16, as well as, support it further in John 13:34-35, Colossians 2:2, and Philippians 2:1-2.
1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Colossians 2:2 “That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.”
Philippians 2:1-2 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
It begins with love and it remains in love not only to one another, but chiefly because of our love to God. He taught us the importance of fellowship with Him in Matthew18:20, called us to be faithful in 1 Corinthians 1:9 and presented us the foundation to build upon in 1 Corinthians 12:12. Love is the motivating factor – the binding glue that holds the fellowship together.
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 12:12 “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”
Our ideal needs to be reshaped to fit what Christ asks of us. We need to itemize what it is that we should do to be fruitful for the Lord. We are the welcoming committee for all new additions to our church family. Whenever we gather together we should seek God before making decisions or finalizing plans. Let His hand guide us and not some calendar or tradition. We also are to teach one another by focusing on how to study the scriptures, how to pray (we are after all called to be prayer warriors) and how to wear the armor the way He taught us to do. We need to make time to schedule our activities so that we can encompass the needs of those who work or who are raising a family. This will allow more to be able to participate and it will include all Sisters-in-Christ.
As I have previously stated it all begins with love and our behavior must display this. In Colossians 3:12-14 we are taught how to clothe ourselves with love and what actions must be made to do so.
Colossians 3:12-14 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
The other side of the coin is to point out what this ministry should not be. When we live in love, we must exclude whatever would separate us from love. I would like to address judgment of others (being critical), cliques, gossiping, an inability to communicate with each other, not being transparent or accountable, do not bear false witness against one another, and our failure or refusal to depend on Jesus to refresh and restore us.
A big complaint many find with the churches today is this perceived notion or feeling or being judged. Sad to say it can and does exist in some churches. Imagine being new to an area and desiring to hear more about the word you decide to check out the local churches. You begin searching with no set expectations, but as soon as you walk through the door, you feel all eyes are on you. No one approaches you, yet many stare at you instead. You begin to feel that your worth is already determined by critical and judging eyes. You are sized up based on someone else’s expectations. Would you feel welcomed and willing to give this church a chance? Would you feel uncomfortable? I know I would!
We are warned many times in the bible not to judge someone based on what we see or do not see. One verse that sticks out to me is Matthew 7:1-5.
Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that ye be judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you seek the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Instead of assessing someone’s worth get to know them first. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find, and you may even learn some valuable lessons from an unexpected source. Seize the opportunities to make a difference do not thwart them.
It is not just judgment. Some people still like to remain in close knit cliques and close the door to friendship and fellowship before it barely opens. We need to challenge ourselves constantly and that means to get out of our so-called comfort zones. We are meant to mingle and know others and gravitate to one another not drift away from.
One stubborn wedge that remains and refuses to budge is our ability to gossip or spread lies about someone else. First, nothing good ever comes out of gossip, dishonesty or slander. Stirring the pot does more harm and sometimes the harm is irreparable. We are warned of this in Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 16:28, and Proverbs 18:8 all of which are good examples to take to heart and learn from. Proverbs 26:20 does not mince words but gets to the meat of the matter. It offers the perfect solution with its astute wisdom plainly stated.
Leviticus 19:16 “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.”
Proverbs 16:28 “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”
Proverbs 26:20 “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”
Suffice it to say that honesty will always provide us with the perfect way to address any issue – even the hardest issues that need to be addressed. Layered within all of this is the need to be open and able to communicate effectively with one another. This is not a time to be boastful, conceited, condescending or demeaning. We all have something to say, something to contribute and a voice that should be heard. We should never make anyone feel they are unimportant or that their concern is not relevant or make them feel encumbered.
Finally, none of us have all the answers and we should never operate under the assumption that we are self-sufficient. We are broken and incapable of fully handling our own lives without the help of others. We are dependent on each other and most of all, on Jesus. This great Intercessor hears our pleas, our prayers, and seeks to help us not because we are worthy, but because of who He is. He is the fountain from which we need to draw our strength.
As Ambassadors for Christ, let’s step up and do what He asks of us. Let us move about with open arms and open hearts and be the hands and feet we are called to be. Together we stand tall for Him and together we open the doors to let others see His glory displayed. Gather sisters for we have much work to do for the kingdom. Let’s partake of this together.