Called…to Step Up
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)
What do you believe?
Is Jesus Christ your tradition or is he your savior and the Son of God?
What do you believe you are called to be?
What did Christ ask of you?
How you are you answering these questions today…right now?
Why do we men so often feel it’s our paramount duty to have our job as #1 in our lives and our faith as an afterthought…if at all? What holds us back from stepping up? Is it machismo? Is it pride? Is all that church stuff is just for women?
Men and women are called to serve. While there is much discussion about what women’s roles should be in our tradition, that is not my focus right now. My focus is simply serving and looking to do the work that God has called you and me to do. My focus right now is primarily on us men, but it applies to everyone – men and women; young AND old.
What will it take for you to engage? What will it take for you to get involved? What will it take for you to serve the Kingdom of God better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today?
Don’t get me wrong. I so appreciate the men that are serving. I’m not going to list all the ways that some men do serve…I don’t want to elevate one means of serving over another. But consider that we are called to grow, to mature, and to strive to be more and more like Jesus. And that requires that we step up and don’t let fear of failure hold us back.
I Peter 4:10
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (NIV)
Step out. Serve. Stretch yourself. Remember that Jesus didn’t call in a bunch of highly educated professionals to set up his kingdom on earth. He was a carpenter. Among those he called were fishermen, a tax collector, some political agitator brothers, and a tent-maker who was also a religious opponent. They stepped up to a challenge that probably seemed pretty daunting. At times they doubted their success and at times they flatly failed. Think in terms of what you do for a living. If you ever took on more responsibility at work, you stepped up! If you ever learned a new skill and then applied it to your craft, you stepped up! If you ever learned how to use a new piece of equipment and then used it, you stepped up! If you ever earned a designation, certification or title, you stepped up! If you ever accepted that promotion to a new level of responsibility, you stepped up! Every time you ever stretched yourself to grow…a little or a lot… you stepped up and took a chance that you might fail. I know there’s a chance our brothers and sisters might sometimes be a tough crowd, but more often than not, you’ll never have a more supportive and appreciative audience than your church family – thankful for your willingness to serve them, their families, their children, their community and the Lord. ALL of us have the obligation to encourage and support everyone that steps up. And I have to keep in mind myself that service cannot be allowed to replace spiritual growth and maturity. The two should go hand-in-hand. Perhaps one will help encourage the other, but both are necessary.
So, what’s your calling? What can you do? What are you willing to do?
We need everyone in our congregation to look for ways to start or expand their service – men and women – but I’m primarily challenging the men right now. We need more men to share their skills and their experience. Will it take time from your week? Yes. Will it require some discipline? Probably. Will it be scary? More than likely. I still fight the butterflies EVERY time I get up in front of a group – congregation sized or class sized. As for me, there are some things I CAN do that I don’t like to do – I need to work on that. There are some things I do at which I need to get better – I need to grow. No one ever said that improvement is easy.
So what are you waiting for? Your invitation to serve and to grow was extended at the moment you accepted Christ.
To what service have you been called? Now is the time to step up!