“And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.”
But God, I have my own problems, and besides that I don’t have what it takes and even if I did where do I start? Turn on the news, open a paper, search the Web and what is readily apparent is that there are many people who are hurting and even more who are searching. Do you fit in one of those categories? If so, you are not alone. Yet in the midst of our life Jesus is calling. Jesus is calling all who are carrying heavy burdens, all who feel overwhelmed, all who feel discouraged and broken. Each of us is called to a deep relationship with God and in turn to witness the grace God shares with us. Our military used to have a slogan, “it is not a job, it is an adventure.” What if we looked at our faith not as a series of tasks to be done, rather to see faith as a series of new adventures to be experienced? St. Paul wrote that we “are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (I Corinthians 12:27) Simply put, you are important to somebody else. The gifts you have been given, the experiences your life has shown you, and each chapter of your story is intended to be used. Jesus never told us how to “make disciples” but did witness how to live our lives through the grace that we have received. Our calling does not involve a job description but does have the power to transform lives, as our lives are transformed. Jesus is calling you to use your story, the gifts you have received, and the gifts you have yet to discover that God has given you, to make a difference in the life of another. You may never know who you have impacted on the adventure, but you have and will make a difference in somebody else’s life. The adventure we are called to join does not come without risk or challenge, but comes with a huge promise from Jesus. No matter where the adventure leads and how daunting or difficult it may seem, in the midst of your calling and life’s adventure, Jesus promises to be with you “always to the end of the age.” You are God’s beloved now, even to the end of the age. The joy of faith is the privilege of sharing God’s grace and eternal promise to the world.
If Jesus had a twitter account, he would probably tweet these words continually: “you shall love the Lord your God with all of you heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. And a second like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” No judgment. No “one-upmanship.” No hesitation. No people categorizing. What Jesus offers to our world is absolutely crazy. He offers an opportunity to be in relationship with the God of creation, and in turn the privilege of sharing that love with our neighbor. Our neighbor includes a huge bunch of people; all for whom Christ died… Do you know you are loved by God? Do you know that your life matters to God? When we commit ourselves to loving God, we accept the grace that has a positive impact not only on ourselves but especially on those around us. Our faith is not intended to be private or filed away somewhere on some dusty old shelf. God’s grace is offered to be shared and celebrated. As the Christmas carol proclaims, “go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere,” Let us go and do likewise.
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the Gospel from the first day until now.”
There is a “YouTube” video called “First World Problems” that contrasts what we sometimes worry about and the significant challenges others have in our midst and throughout the world. People need hope in their lives and no matter the size and complexity of the challenge, the church needs to offer an alternative. Hope is shared by reaching out the hand of understanding and grace to those who are struggling. It is about “being there” for someone in their time of need and walking with them through the journey that is set before them. You are needed by someone who needs the hope of Jesus Christ in their life. When you share the gift of your time, you share the gift of the Gospel. You may never know how you impact the lives of other people, but you do in many ways. It may only take a smile, or a few words, but don’t underestimate the value of your presence to another. Whether somebody is dealing with “first world problems” or “other world” problems, they need the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ. So what is the Good News? The Good News is about the pure love of God offering grace, mercy, forgiveness and life anew to all who believe and the reality that we are never alone. This is not just good news; it is amazing news because of the amazing grace of Jesus. Go, and share the gift.