How important is the church to you? That’s a question I think
each of us should periodically ask ourselves. Why “periodically” do
you ask? And why use the word “important”? These are two areas I
want to talk about this month, as we consider the part that we
individually play in the ministry and mission of the Orenco
Periodically. The dictionary defines this word as “from time to
time” and “at regularly occurring intervals.” How we carry out the
meaning of this word is indicative of how we live. For example,
how often we worship can be characterized as periodically –
meaning that we either attend regularly, or from time to time. We
either attend worship services most every Sunday (regularly) or once
or twice each month (from time to time). How often we bring an
offering to God can be characterized in the same way.
Other areas of our life with God can fall into the same definition: how often we pray, how often we’re looking to serve in some capacity of the church’s ministry and mission – the characteristics that describe the word “periodically” are played out in how we live.
But I find that the second word important carries more weight, as to how we live out our lives for the sake of God’s ministry and mission. One of the definitions of “important” is “of great significance or value.” The Merriam/Webster Dictionary defines important as “marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence: valuable in content or relationship.”
Of significant worth or consequence. The Apostle Paul spoke of what was important to him, concerning his relationship to Jesus Christ – “for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). To Paul, nothing else mattered. That was his encouragement to us. That is his encouragement to me.
How important is the ministry and mission of the Orenco Presbyterian Church? It is of utmost importance. I don’t think this just because I work here, but because Jesus has commissioned us to do His work – His ministry and mission. Just as He told His original disciples to “Go and make disciples,” He likewise today tells us to do the same. And just as Paul said that compared to his relationship to Jesus Christ nothing else mattered, that same encouragement and emphasis is for us today – that nothing else matters when we compare it to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord (see Philippians
So the question for each of us is how do we live out our relationship to our Lord? For the answer we give is, in turn, the answer we give to how important is it that the Orenco Presbyterian Church carries out its ministry and mission for the sake of Jesus Christ. How well our church does this depends on you and me –both in terms of periodically and importance. Paul encouraged us to be like him – not because he was
great, but because he sought Jesus – first and only.
I have found that I must regularly ask myself this question: what have I placed above my relationship to Jesus? What must I do to put Him first in all areas of my life? That involves my time, my talents, and my treasure. Is God the Lord of these areas in my life? Is He the Lord in our life?
May each of us tithe to God in each of these three areas: for Time, may God see me joining in corporate worship on a regular, weekly basis. For Talent, may I seek that God uses the talents and spiritual gifts He gave to me for Him. And for Treasure, may I seek to regularly give the first 10th of my income to Him. And may I strive to do all three of these – time, talent and treasure – for His glory and praise. Amen.