There is no doubt all of us are busier today than we were a few years ago. Work load has increased for most jobs; activities abound; we are living in more prosperous times, thus our vacations have become longer and more luxurious. What hasn’t increased is our time spent "giving". I’m talking to the church community now. We used to be in church all day on Sunday and even several days during the week – choir practice, Bible study, Prayer Meeting – those things have gradually been reduced in most churches to maybe a Bible study, and maybe rehearsal for those faithful to the Praise Team. Our Sundays likely have us in church an hour and a half to two hours – max! Admittedly, this is not every church; nor does being in church constitute "giving" – but one thing it did do was give us a consciousness of how important, "time, talent, and treasure" is.
Instructing the Gentile churches, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Galatians had this to say:
9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. Galatians 5:9-10 (MSG)
I hear so many today making arguing that we cannot obtain our salvation through "works". I would argue however, that we do "work out" our salvation through what we say and do! It is no doubt that working among the saints will give you a different kind of education. You will find out a whole lot about who YOU really are. Notice I didn’t say, who other people are. For God has designed community to work so that we not only work toward a common goal but what is in us becomes a work in progress for the common good. It is easy to be saved at home alone – no one gets on your nerves (except maybe your dog or. cat); you don’t have to learn how to compromise, how to have patience, how to prefer others more highly than you do yourselves. More importantly, you don’t have to learn how to forgive. You don’t have to bear others weaknesses, considering yourself, lest you also fall into that same kind of weakness.(Galatians 6:1 )
Yes, giving service, whether to the local church, or the neighborhood, requires a level of love and sacrifice that doesn’t come naturally, it is SUPERnatural! It is God inspired and requires God to work through us that we might become a new creation in Christ Jesus!
While we have not been called to an overseas mission, or to create an international ministry – what we can do is learn to love our neighbor, as we do ourselves, and there is no better place to start than in the community of faith:
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in loveLove others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? Galatians 513-15 (MSG)
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can. " John Wesley