Sermon preached on 2020-02-09 by Rev. John Conway. Worship series, "Odd and Wondrous Calling." Sermon, "Word, Service, Justice & Compassion." Scriptures, Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:1-10.
Acts 6:1-6 New International Version (NIV) In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.1 Timothy 3:1-10 New International Version (NIV) Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
As United Methodists, we believe in the ministry of all Christians. That means whether or not you serve the church in a pastoral role, like Pastor Sarah or Pastor John, you are also a minister of the Church. We call this “the unity of ministry in Christ.” We are all in this ministry together because we have been baptized.
Our United Methodist Discipline tells us that: “All United Methodists are summoned and sent by Christ to live and work together in mutual interdependence and to be guided by the Spirit into the truth that frees and the love that reconciles.” This means that we are all called to a servant ministry to serve Christ and to serve our community.
This week, take some time to reflect on what your gifts for ministry are and how and where you can use your gifts. Can you use your gifts at home, at school, at work, going shopping, as you are commuting? Take time this week to pray for your ministry and for the ministry of our church family.
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