Greetings in Christ,
January is the time for Annual Reports in the life of a congregation. They are often statistics of the events of the parish life in the past year, the number of baptisms, confirmations, deaths, transfers and such. There are questions about the financial health of the congregation and plans for the future ministry. There is value to looking at these things as trends in membership, finances and plans can give an indication of the direction and health of a congregation. What they cannot do is give a picture of the faithfulness of the members as they serve the Lord.
Our faithfulness to Jesus is not measured by the amount of money we give, the time we spend at church, or the plans we have made about the future of our congregation. Our faithfulness to Jesus is a matter of the heart and soul. It begins with a living relationship to the Risen Jesus. The daily walk with Him in our lives is where we deepen our life in His love and mercy.
Faithfulness takes shape in the prayers lifted to the Lord in the small hours of the night, often for people who will never know that they were being held in prayer. Faithfulness appears in words of hope and encouragement to the neighbor when their lives have taken a turn for the worse. Faithfulness appears as we read our Bibles to go deeper into the mysteries of God revealed to us in His Word. Faithfulness appears in the loving invitation to someone to join you in worship. Faithfulness appears in our longing for the Holy Supper and blessing it gives us in our lives.
Our congregations may be small ones serving in a rural area where like many rural areas the population is aging and declining, but our faithfulness to our Lord remains the center of who we have been, who we are and who we will continue to be.
Have a Blessed Week