In a recent post, Missions At Any Age, I shared the work of the Sewing Circle at Calvary Baptist in Scottsboro. At that time I could only share the work and the intent of these faithful servants. Today, I can show where and how God used their time and talents for His Kingdom.
Mission: God Knows the End From the Beginning
Sewing Circle members don’t always know where their work will wind up. And that is one of the
things many Christians need to learn. Some think they have to know the entire mission ‘loop’ before they decide to get involved. That just isn’t the case. Why? For one reason, mission is God’s work more than it is our work. He does in fact know the end from the beginning. Our step of faith is to trust His knowledge and engage ourselves in His work.
We wrapped up our week of pastor training Samana, Dominican Republic, by giving quilts to pastors. We explained the work of the Sewing Circle. We showed the pastors how to use the quilts as outreach tools. They were delighted to receive them. But there was more to it than just a quilt or two for each pastor or church.
We used the work of the Sewing Circle to encourage them with their own outreach projects. I an not in charge of knowing what skills or talents reside in the churches those pastors represent. Those pastors know what their members can do. And whatever those talents may be, they can be used to demonstrate the Gospel. That’s what those quilts are – a gift that demonstrates the loving grace of God. And why is demonstrating that a necessary item?
Every action we take as a mission team is a demonstration of the Gospel. If people cannot see the difference the Gospel has made in our lives, why would they entertain surrendering their lives to Jesus? This is the simple connection that so many people miss. They miss it on the mission field and they miss it in their church ministries. Demonstration of the Gospel (there are many) should precede declaration of the Gospel. Think I’ve lost it?
Do you remember what Jesus said about ministering (tangible actions; demonstrations) to the least of these? Do you remember what James wrote about the value of our witness? If we see someone in need and don’t take action to address the need, James says our faith is worthless. It’s not enough to talk (preach). Don’t misunderstand. We must preach. But the actions we take (demonstrations) let others see what belief in Jesus does in the heart of the believer.
Mission: It’s Both/And – NOT Either/Or
So as you think about your own connections to ministry, think about the example set by the Sewing Circle. Together closed the ministry loop. They provided a tangible demonstration; a gift to give in the name of Jesus. We gave the gifts and shared the Word of God. We provided the declaration of the Gospel. And now we know some of the people who are recipients of that shared labor! God is good…