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Putting it into practice

Putting it into practice

Posted: Thursday, September 4, 2008 11:06 am

The Messenger. 09.03.08 Written by members of the Obion County Ministerial Association I Peter 4:9-10 (NIV) reads thus: “Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each one of you has received.” If you go to church much, you hear quite a lot about being servants. But most of think that servanthood is really too demanding and too demeaning. We, who supposedly serve the greatest Servant who ever walked the earth, don’t seem to find it in our hearts and souls to do the same. We usually don’t do much better than our secular friends (those who never miss Rotary or Kiwanis or whatever), who also know that in almost any organization, churches included, about 10 percent of the members do about 90 percent of the work. And I must tell you, my friends, that I have been in many congregations of many different denominations in many places, including here, that were so cold and lacking in hospitality that the first thing I wanted to ask for was a blanket. What in the world has happened to hospitality and servanthood? I don’t know. I do know that we have become, through our own inertia, a society of spectators rather than a society of doers. We make excuses for not doing things, the most often used, of course, being “I don’t know how,” or “that’s not my gift” or “I don’t want to do that.” We watch sports, but don’t participate. We watch exercise shows and fitness shows but don’t exercise or diet. We watch political events but we don’t vote. We see others in poverty and peril but don’t devote our resources to saving them. We sit in our pews each Sunday (maybe) but never see our own transgressions. Thanks be to God that there are many exceptions. There are many who tirelessly use their gifts for the good of others and who will always welcome us with a warm hand and a joyful heart. In a revival which ended just a month ago, I saw the members of Mount Zion United Methodist Church extend themselves in every possible way. Mount Zion had a revival without any “professional preachers.” The speakers were United Methodist Church certified lay speakers from our area, and all did fine jobs in bringing meaningful messages. We at Mount Zion decided to celebrate the power in the people in the pews, so the members — the lay people — did everything from welcoming to singing, praying, cooking and eating. Not only did we have four wonderful nights of worship, we also had some really great hours of fellowship. We may not ever be able to duplicate the pervading feeling that the Spirit was leading us each night. Perhaps that’s something we shouldn’t try to duplicate. But for that time I truly believe that we had a singular opportunity to live out the directions given by the writer of I Peter, and not for ourselves, but “that in everything God may be glorified.” The Rev. Hugh D. Barksdale Mount Zion/Rush Creek Extended Ministry United Methodist Church

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