United together in the mission of God
It is amazing how the mission of God knits us together. Any human undertaking counts on the direct and indirect contributions of others. This, however, requires people to work together, sharing in the interests, gifts, and skills of others. For this to happen, there must be cooperation as people try to get along well or to at least tolerate each other. They try to do so in the interest of material and worldly gains.
In the Kingdom of God, our togetherness is nourished by deeper and more powerful means. We call these the means of grace. Specifically, means not defined by our abilities or skills but rather based on the gospel of Jesus Christ, seen in His life, death, and resurrection.
For several weeks now, despite social distancing, the church has made creative provisions for our unity. The table of the Lord’s Supper is one of those provisions. Through this sacramental practice, we draw closer to Jesus Christ and are enabled, as equals, not only to think of each other but also to do something for each other. That “something” translates into words of encouragement, prayers, gifting, dreaming, and readiness for the future.
Only God can keep us together in this way as we focus on the mission of Jesus Christ. We are imperfect people, each one contributing to the building up of God’s spiritual temple. This reminds us of the words that King David used to encourage his son Solomon to give his best to the temple project: “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. And behold the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God; and with you in all the work will be every willing man who has skill for any kind of service; also the officers and all the people will be wholly at your command” (1 Chronicles 28:20-21 ESV).
Using the figure of Solomon’s temple as an example, we can then see that we are to be united together to build up the temple of God. Together we can come to an amazing understanding of God’s plan and actions as well as our roles and potential in God’s purposes. In this project of God’s, there are a few things we ought to keep in mind:
First, the Lord is with us: “The Lord God, even my God, is with you.” It was within David's power to find and contract the best available planners, managers, architects, engineers, and all kinds of experts to help Solomon. This David did, but he wanted his son to depend on God more than on any other helper. David had a deeply personal relationship with God, the one to whom he referred, “even my God.” This God had delivered David, empowered him, and now would have a relationship with his son Solomon.
Current events in our world require wisdom, understanding, courage, and the will for us to overcome evils. We need historians, sociologists, politicians, counselors, etc., but only the Lord who sent His son Jesus to give sight to the blind, freedom to the captives, and salvation for all can lead us in this stage of the temple’s building. The plan is His and it is good, notwithstanding the attempts to corrupt God’s plan. Just as David discipled his son, we ought to disciple our sons and daughters, both in the human sense and in Christ’s sense. We do this one son and one daughter at a time, changing the way we see and serve each other.
Second, the Lord is our finisher: “He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” Our setbacks and failures do not hold Him from finishing the plans that He sets in His heart to accomplish. Jesus came to get it done, and He made His mission very clear in these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor” (Luke 4:18-19 ESV). He has also made it clear that He counts on us to get it done: "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do because I am going to the Father. No power of this world can stop Jesus” (John 14:12 ESV). When He made this declaration, He knew that some of the immediate “doers" were weak and had no social status to use as a platform. The only qualifying condition that He set — for then or now — is faith in Him. We, the doers of today, also are weak and imperfect, and God still trusts in us to get it done.
In the life of Christ, we find the example for what we do through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM). During these trying times, the church is reporting participation in the mission and impact on the lives of many across the globe.
438,052 people have been served by Nazarene projects.
66 world areas are covered under the Nazarene pandemic-response.
257 districts are participating in pandemic-related ministries.
3,500 churches jumped into action to serve their communities.
The NCM update states: "Nazarene churches around the world are springing into action organically to serve more people in need. This number includes only those reporting through NCM.”
By the power of God’s love and amazing grace, united, we must improve or even change the way we act in response, not only to the physical pandemic but also to the human wickedness that causes suffering, losses, disrespect, discrimination, and division. Together, in obedience to the God we know, we will get it done.
--Board of General Superintendents
To view a video devotional of this message, click here.