Sending

Here I Am! I’ll Go! Send Me!

Here We Are? We’ll Go! Send Us!

In our readings from Romans, we read such a classic scripture. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”. (Romans 12:1)

And then Paul adds this statement: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God– what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2)

Christian stewardship means that our lives are dedicated to Jesus Christ. It means to take on a new mind-set so that we may discern what the will of God is. Paul is being very practical in his teaching to the Roman Church. This is some good advice not only for the early Christians in Rome, but for us. There are some things in the Bible that are particularly applicable to the people of the time and culture that the scripture was written (and for us this morning, it is the letter to the Christian Church in Rome). Paul addresses issues such as law and grace, bondage and freedom, clean and unclean food, gifts and callings, and death and life. There are times when the New Testament writers address specific issues, behavior and problems that do not apply to us. But, there are underlying premises (truths that transcend time and space, culture and history). This is one of those truths that apply to every one of us, a thread that has been relevant to all generations since the time it was penned.

And, the truth that applies to us this morning is this: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3)  This is practical and relevant advice. It is not mystical. It is not beyond our grasp. It is not like understanding the mysteries of faith that are so beyond our understanding that it is baffling to us. This is not one of those kinds of teachings. Take an analytical survey, taking a close examination of who we are, (an x-ray of who we are individually and collectively) what our gifts are, and to think soberly about that. Another definition for thinking soberly is executing sound judgment based on evidence that we have in hand, not evidence we do not have, but the evidence that we have access to.

So, for example Paul continues his teaching with these words from Romans: “For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one Body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” (Romans 12:4-5)  That’s the beauty of the Church, and that’s the beauty of the Day of Pentecost, and this season of Pentecost, The Holy Spirit has been infused into the church to transform us individually and collectively into what is referred to as the Body of Christ. Christ lives and reigns through us. We are his feet, hands, eyes and mouth. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: (Romans 12:6-8)

As we work together we will find a way to make this work within our own ministry paradigm, using sober judgment, as we offer our lives on the altar of God. I say often, that I am a leader of leaders in this parish. Not having people step up for ministry opportunities is not a problem here. It is something that I know is special about this place, and hopefully we all can appreciate and recognize that and not take it for granted. This is a welcoming church, a church that has a lot of passion, and people that share the love of God with cheerfulness.

We are all in this together. Present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God, and then may we all say personally and collectively:

Here I Am! I’ll Go! Send Me!
Here We Are? We’ll Go! Send Us!

Amen

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