If not you . . . then who? Your gifts, talents are needed by church
April 27, 2011 - What is our world coming to? Our newspapers, television screens and magazines are riddled with stories of scandal, crime, racial and/or cultural bigotry, and economic despair.
Stories abound about how "we" are losing the "war on poverty," the "war on drugs," the "war on terrorism," the "war against teenage pregnancy," as well as the many other such "wars" that I am sure spring to your mind.
Even here in what many consider the simple rural life of our area we suffer from the same malaise of negativity, distrust, disrespect, and social meltdown.
We all shake our collective heads and say, "Someone really ought to do something about that," or perhaps, "It's hopeless" or perhaps even, "I don't understand why God allows this or doesn't do something."
The fact of the matter is that God has done something. God has done many "somethings." God throughout human history has sent prophets to try and get people to follow life paths that will bring them the peace, dignity, self-fulfillment, and security that we all crave for our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
God sent many prophets to try and relay this message of hope and time and again humankind failed to listen.
Finally God came to us to speak to us directly . . . face to face . . . human being to human being in Jesus Christ, to show us the way to live with one another and for our own well being.
And while we failed again to rally to the truth and sent Jesus to the Cross, God still did not give up on us and rose from the grave that wondrous Easter morning and continues to be with us in the most personal way through the Holy Spirit . . . God's Spirit that we might finally understand what God had been trying to share with us since we first pulled away from God's loving authority so very long ago.
It was this message that the Apostle Paul was inspired by God to share with the church at Ephesus and through the Bible to share with us today.
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
The truth, the answer to the world's problems, the answers to the issues in our country, our community, and in our own lives has always been the same . . . God has given us everything we need to have and live the lives we seek and long for ourselves and those we love.
We have the resources and talents we need to bring our world into harmony with God's will and the loving hope that is ours to claim.
The answer we have gotten from God, learned from Jesus, and continually encouraged toward through the Holy Spirit is that the answer is you and I.
It is up to us individually and collectively to take responsibility for our world, our lives, and the care of our neighbors. We are called to live together as Jesus lived with us. We are called to love each other.
We are called to love together, work together, and face our personal and shared issues and challenges together with Christ's life as our guide.
The answers you seek begin with you and your relationship with God and continue to blossom and reach fulfillment in our relationships with one another.
Jesus lived a life involved with people, in their lives, in their problems, and even in their joys and victories. Jesus can still be the "way, the truth, and the life" for you.
The answers you seek always begin and end with your relationships with God and your neighbor.
It takes each of us getting involved. Joining together in common purpose and with a collective will and vision for the world in which we live and raise our families.
Each of us has been created unique, gifted, and priceless. Without each of us, the efforts to bring into being the sort of world we dream of are diminished, but together, as one body, in a personal relationship with God with the support of God's Spirit, nothing is impossible.
So the next time you see an issue that needs solving, a challenge that needs facing, a problem that needs addressing, consider the possibility that you are part of the answer; you who have been created just for this time in this place and in this situation.
Without you and your gifts and talents joined together in common cause with others, the church suffers, the community suffers, and the world suffers. If not you . . . then who?
The Rev. Tim Dibble is pastor of Ortonville United Methodist Church