Philippians says, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12-13, RSV) Our life with God involves both our thoughts and our actions. We “work” outwardly as God works inwardly. Putting our faith into action requires an intentional decision and commitment to invest our time and energy in God’s kingdom and his church. The passage reminds us that our works of service are really the work of God and therefore we must guard our hearts from the temptation to become proud of OUR contributions and/or abilities. Make intentional plans this week to “work out” your salvation.
Listen / Speak – Conversations are a very practical form of ministry when we offer our conversations to serve others rather than ourselves. Serving others in conversation begins by a commitment to listen; listen for what matters to the other person, listen to learn, listen with curiosity. Intentionally avoid testing for right or wrong, anticipating their thoughts, assuming you know what they mean, finishing their sentences, or mentally labeling their ideas. When speaking, speak to encourage and bless others, ask about them and their life. Avoid asking-for-asking-sake, giving advice, sarcasm, always sharing your knowledge / wisdom / ideas, and telling personal stories. Make the conversation a gift to the other person. Intentionally start a conversation with someone.
Volunteer – Opportunities to express your faith through service are plentiful. The congregation constantly needs volunteers to teach, cook, maintain, organize, decorate, etc. Don’t wait for someone to ask, just volunteer to serve the congregation with your time and energy. There are additional places to volunteer in the community as a representative of Christ. When volunteering, whether at the church or in the community it is important to remember that we are working as God’s ambassadors, revealing his heart to all people.
Gifts for God– Finding a life purpose in the kingdom of God is different than volunteering. When we volunteer, we offer our energy to get things done whether they fit our interests, skills, and inclinations or not. God has gifted each one of us with abilities to benefit the life of the church, serve God’s purposes in the world, and bring glory to his name. We have the choice to use our skills and interests for our own purpose and glory or to submit them to the purpose and will of God. Spend this week discovering or applying your gifts for a kingdom purpose.
Invite / Join– As ambassadors for God, we carry a message of forgiveness, love, hope, and the possibility of change. God offers his blessings to everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, health, or economics. In our role as ambassadors we intentionally build relationships with neighbors, coworkers, and friends by offering hospitality and responding to their offers. As we share life with others we openly reveal our life with God; our struggles, hopes, beliefs, prayers, reflections, and how God has changed us. This week intentionally pray about a relationship you can begin or strengthen. Invite them over, accept their invitation, live life together.