Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY
As I write this reflection, I am sitting in a meeting of the larger church that I am fortunate enough to serve. Pastors and parishioners from across Upstate New York are gathered to do a little business, to hear about what our church is up to, and to discern where God is calling us next. And everywhere I look I see our national church’s slogan: “God’s work. Our hands At Work.” There are hospitals being built in war torn developing nation. Young adults are serving in global mission. Ninety-six percent of our congregations have food pantries or food insecurity outreaches. And so much more.
As I hear about all of the amazing things God is doing through God’s people in the world, I’m grateful and I’m inspired. But, if I’m honest, I’m also a little bit overwhelmed. It’s easy to hear things about people who sacrifice everything to serve overseas or sacrifice their finances to make a difference in the lives of those in need. But it’s another thing altogether to ask what God has in store for me.
“God’s work. Our hands.” I like. “God’s work. My hands.” is intimidating. But I’m sure God has something in mind for me, because scripture reminds me that God has something in mind for each of us. 1 Corinthians 12 says:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
And the two words that stand out to me the most today are “everyone” and “each.” It’d be far more convenient for my busy schedule if only that could have said ‘some.’ But while intimidating, isn’t it also exciting? Isn’t it amazing that God pours his Spirit and God gives gifts to each of us so that we can put them to work for the common good? And if God gives his gifts to each of us that means it’s not just “God’s work. Our hands.” It’s “God’s work. Your hands,” too.
So what gifts do you have and where are the places that they could be put to work? Maybe you’re being called to build a hospital in South Sudan, or maybe you’re being called to volunteer at your hospital at home. Perhaps you’re being called to raise awareness and funds for world hunger, or maybe you’re being called to remember the poor when you do your grocery shopping or plant your garden this year. Being called to participate in God’s mission in the world is not a matter of WHETHER or not you are called, but a matter of WHERE you are called.
And that makes us partners and part of a mission and ministry far bigger than anything we can imagine and capable of achieving what the world would deem impossible. Is that intimidating? Maybe. But is it exciting? Oh yeah. And I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in the world next through me and you.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.