Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 1 Peter 2:5 (NLT)
1 So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. 2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (TEV)
On some occasions I have witnessed what could be called a general mobilization against those committed to dedicating their whole lives to the service of God and souls. Some people think that our Lord ought to ask their permission before choosing others for his service. Apparently they believe man is not free to say an unequivocal yes or no to this proposal of Love. To people who think that way, the supernatural life of each soul is something secondary. They do believe it has to be reckoned with, but only after petty comforts and human selfishness have been accommodated. If this were the case, what would be left of Christianity? Are the loving but demanding words of Jesus only to be heard? Or are they rather to be heard and put into practice? Did he not say, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”?8
One of the things that those who observe the church and its ministry is that the millennial generation is more caused based. That is, they do not want a passive church where they sit and learn academic proofs for the existence of God and the formula for justification. They want an active faith, a trust in God that drives them to serve with purpose.
Some say this is new, but I remember my generation wanting the same thing. We responded to calls to be servant leaders, not just the bureaucrats and office holders we’ve too often become. What is worse, my generation, and the one before that seem determined to quench the spirit of those who would serve, saying that they cannot serve.
In doing so, not only are they preventing men and women from serving the vocation God has given them, they deny them a chance to grow in faith. The church should be recognizing the gifts and calling that God has given them. The church should be laying hands on and praying for the Spirit to bless those who would serve! Those who stop people from serving as part of the church are restraining them from doing the things that would lift up their pastors. There is no scriptural or confessional reason for this! ( Luther, Melancthon, and Walther all talk about such assistance as being good and right!)
I think St. Josemaria Escriva is correct, the resistance to letting people serve as God has called them has nothing to do with caring for them spiritually, and everything to do with petty comforts and selfishness. Harsh words, but to dismiss the supernatural life of souls as something secondary is completely contrary to the scriptures.
For these is a great tie between making sacrifices, and depending on God. Service and Faith are inseparable. Just like there is a right call to the office of the pastor, there is a right call to the priesthood, to the ministry of serving, to what in Greek is called the diakonos, that is – the office of deacon.
As a pastor, there are few things more uplifting as seeing the people of God hear the message I proclaim, the gospel I teach and desire to do something with it. It is not a threat to my job, or a threat to my existence. It isn’t a financial threat to see this! There is no threat in educating people to serve. It becomes the joy of seeing the care of souls entrusted to me bearing fruit. What a joy it is, when people say that this person ministered to them, what joy is it to watch a man stand by me and assist in baptizing those he shared the hope he has because of Christ.
What a joy it is to see them hunger and thirst to know God’s love, to help them explore it, to help them be rid of those things that quench their relationship with God. To see them realize that they can please God, that they who were justified by Christ are now sanctified and set apart to live walking with their Lord, guided by the Holy Spirit.
We have a unique opportunity, to see the church’s faith become relevant to their lives, to see them dedicate their lives to serving God and the people in the communities they live in, and the communities around the world. How we do that will determine the church for generations to come, whether it will be weak and die out where we live, or whether it will serve God.
It’s our choice, just as it was Israel’s as it entered the land.
Let’s pray.. and hear God speak clearly.
Escriva, Josemaria. Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 1116-1122). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.