Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Spring is such a beautiful and hopeful time of the year! I get so excited when I see the first shoots of my lilies and tulips poking through the frosty mulch in my yard! This promise of new life usually comes right around the time that we are celebrating the promise of eternal life that we have through the resurrection of our Savior!!
The grace that we are given through Jesus’ sacrifice is such a wonderful thing. Ephesians 2:8-9 describes it beautifully: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” I’m sure many of you reading this remember having those verses as memory work back in the day. We don’t often go on to verse 10, though, which reads: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We have been given this amazing gift of grace (hopefully a beloved hymn is now running through your head), but now what? What do we do with it? Well, verse 10 tells us just that! We are created with a purpose! Through this gift of grace, we are given the opportunity to get in on the action of God’s redemptive plan for the world!! We can join in what God is already doing by using the gifts, talents, and passions that He designed us to have in order to give Him glory!!
That may seem intimidating. So often we think about service or sharing our faith, and we are immediately overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings on being inadequate. Get this: on your own you are inadequate! But GOD is not, and you are not on your own!! God is already doing this amazing work in our lives and in the lives of people around us. He invites each and every one of us to be a part of that work, through the relationships, skills, and interests that He gives us.
As you enjoy all of the wonderful things that come along with Easter and spring this year, please take some time to think and pray about the opportunities that God is giving you to participate in some of those “good works” that God has laid before you. Remember, this is NOT to earn any sort of favor, but as a way to respond to the gift you’ve already been given! Perhaps you have some friends or family here at Immanuel that are already involved in a ministry area that you can join. Maybe you have a passion for children or youth and would like the opportunity to get connected in those areas. Maybe you’re more into the behind-the-scenes sort of stuff but would like to help make our space more welcoming in and inviting to the families that come to worship with us. Maybe you interact with the same person on a regular basis when you get your gas, groceries, or coffee, and you have the opportunity to show them some extra kindness. Whatever it is that God may be placing on your heart, please trust that He has ALSO given you the gifts or the support in order to do these things! Every single one of us has been blessed with the opportunity to join God’s team and point others to Him!
Your team-mate in Christ,
Tara Barrett, DCE