Pastor’s Blog – Sept. 10, 2021

     Last week brought forth an opportunity for our congregation. A motorist had broken down and was repairing his trailer in the church parking lot. The day was hot. Replacement parts were ten miles away. Not much was going right for this gentleman.
     However, a member of St. Paul Community stepped up and offered help. Another offered some food and a cool beverage. I offered a prayer of blessing and protection as the weary traveler continued his journey.
The actions of our people reminded me of the question God asked of Moses: “What’s in your hand?” Moses was holding a simple shepherd’s staff. Yet God used the object to liberate and bless the Jewish people.
     Likewise, the members of our congregation used whatever aids they had in their possession to offer their assistance and encouragement. The recipient of these gifts thanked me and claimed that he had been blessed by these actions. It dawned on me after he had left the church that those of us who gave of ourselves were also blessed.
     Isn’t it interesting how such simple acts of service offered to others rebound to enhance our lives, as well? Jesus spoke accurately when he claimed that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35) though the gifts received by the giver oftentimes go unrecognized. Many people are surprised when they learn that service is a Means of Grace. Like the other spiritual disciplines, service is a means Christ uses to shape us into his image. In fact, service is the most demonstrable way of reflecting the presence and work of Jesus in one’s life.
     Most often, the opportunities to serve others do not pre-announce their arrival. Such acts of kindness are frequently made in response to needs that extemporarily present themselves. Opening the door for someone whose hands are full. Stopping the car to allow a pedestrian to safely cross the street. Offering a bottle of water to the mail carrier. These acts of service most certainly grace the recipients. However, please recognize that such occasions are ways to grow in the grace of God, as well.
     So, the next time you are given a chance to be a representative of Christ, look in the mirror and ask the person staring back at you the question: what’s in your hand?