“For we are God’s servants, working together” (1 Corinthians 3:9).
It takes many hands — working together — to accomplish all that takes place in a church like Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church. Some of those “hands” are highly visible as they lead worship services, usher, teach Sunday school classes, or participate in musical offerings. Others are not seen as much as they labor behind the scenes cleaning and repairing the building, serving on committees, or in many other ways.
That is true of all types of organizations, but what sets the church apart — especially a church like Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church — is that we are not just working by ourselves and for ourselves. We are working together hand in hand with God. As Annie Johnson Flint wrote, “Christ has no hands but our hands to do God's work today.”
What we are doing, whether it is one of the highly visible functions or one of the behind-the-scenes tasks, we are doing for God’s glory. We are “God’s fellow servants.” We are truly working together with God! And as we do so, we have the opportunity to celebrate God’s good gifts to us.
As God’s children, sometimes our emphasis is on things like food, clothing, shelter, crops, and a land that brings forth bounty in abundance. As we benefit from God’s good gifts like these and many others, our response should be one of thanksgiving and gratitude.
But God’s good gifts are also spiritual in nature. For example, God gave the gift of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. Without a doubt, this is the greatest gift of all! God gives the gift of faith so that people can trust Christ for salvation and wholeness. God gives the gift of grace, which is an expression of unconditional love towards us. God gives the gift of wisdom to those who ask. God gives the Holy Spirit to us to help us in our Christian lives and in our prayers. God gives spiritual gifts which enable us to serve and minister to others. God even provides special gifts to the people who work in the kingdom as pastors, teachers, and missionaries.
Perhaps the gifts of God are best summarized in James 1:17.
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Think about it: Every good gift is from God. All God requires of us, God's children, is that we diligently follow with the full expectation and confidence that God will reward our faithful obedience.
Obedience has been defined as doing what God says, when God says, with the right heart attitude. A spirit of willing obedience is essential as we seek to use the time, talents, and treasure that God has entrusted to us for God’s glory and for the good of other people. So is a willingness to listen to God.
Max Lucado wrote,
Once there was a man who dared God to speak. “Burn the bush like you did for Moses, God, and I will follow. Collapse the walls like you did for Joshua, God, and I will follow. Still the waves like you did on Galilee, God, and I will follow.”
And so the man sat by a bush, near a wall, close to the sea, and waited for God to speak.
And God heard the man, so God answered. God sent a fire, not for a bush, but for a church. God brought down a wall, not of brick, but of sin. God stilled a storm, not of the sea, but of a soul.
And God waited for the man to respond. And He waited . . . and waited.
But because the man was looking at bushes, not hearts, bricks, and not lives, seas, and not souls, he decided that God had done nothing.
Finally, he looked to God and asked, “Have you lost your power?”
And God looked at him and said, “Have you lost your hearing?”
What is your response to God’s good gifts? As one who is “working together” with God and listening to God, will you make a fresh commitment to use the time, talents, and treasure you have received in an even greater way in 2024?
“ . . . we are God’s servants, working together.“