I am Rev. Dr. Dan Parrish and the newest staff member here at St. Andrews. I rejoice to be your Congregational Care Pastor and give thanks to Pastor Tim for affording me an opportunity to proclaim the word of God this Sunday to our congregation. But I’m not the only person on staff at St. Andrews, for everyone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus Christ is a part of our staff. I feel that we do a disservice to our congregations when we fail to remind each person in the pew each Sunday that we are all called to be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the congregations that I served, the first line in the staff listing was this: “Ministers – All the members of the family of God.” I did that because each of us is a minister of the Gospel every day, many times to eyes and ears that we don’t even know are watching to see our witness. Nonetheless, we do bear a witness – which leads to the following questions.
Jesus asked an important question of those who followed him, a question that every person answers in one way or another – WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM? Each of us must answer for ourselves that question. Our lives will either reflect his presence as we choose to serve Him as the Lord of our lives, or we will reflect a very different presence in our words and actions to those around us. Which will it be for you? Remember, to choose not to answer is ultimately to have chosen against Christ.
Likewise Joshua challenged the people of Israel as they came out of the wilderness and prepared to enter the Promised Land with a very similar question – CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE? AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.
Everyday you and I are giving an answer to those two questions by the very choices we make in our lives – who do we say that Jesus is, and who are we going to serve. This week as we gather to worship, I want to challenge each of us in thinking about our answers to these questions and to provide some thoughts on how we might be better equipped to allow our lives to truly reflect the answers we give.
I truly believe that as a whole, most of the persons attending service this week would affirm that Jesus is the Son of God and the means of our eternal salvation. I believe that we would answer Joshua that we are choosing to serve God in our lives. But what answer did others see in the words and actions of your life each day last week? Are we truly living our faith before others?
We all are familiar with the story about Johnny Appleseed who planted the apple seeds everywhere he traveled, leaving behind orchard upon orchard for all to enjoy. Did every seed grow – no. But that didn’t keep Johnny from planting his seeds – because he planted each in faith and God brought a bountiful reward from his faithfulness. I share that story, because I believe God has given each of us a bag of “faith seeds” to plant. And I don’t believe God will be any more pleased with us, than was the owner in the parable of the talents with the one who received only one talent who returned only the one talent to the owner. (See Matthew 25:24-27) God doesn’t desire for us to come before Him with our full bag of “faith seeds.” The pleasing act will be to come before Him with an empty sack – having scattered all our “faith seeds” for the Kingdom of God.
Pastor Tim challenged all of us last week to Go Out and scatter those faith seeds that God has given to us, in order that God might bring the harvest. Do you remember the admonition of the scriptures – the fields are ripe for the harvest, but the laborers are few. You and I are the laborers that were being referred to in that passage. It all begins by answering the questions I asked in the beginning of this article.
I want us to look at the story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee as we strive to learn what made those jars so usable by Jesus, as I believe that we can learn for ourselves how we also can be usable vessels for the Kingdom of God. Come and join us and invite a friend to come with you! That would be planting a few of those “faith seeds,” and let’s listen for God to speak to us in worship this week.