As you can see there’s a lot going on and our sacrificial clergy and core lay volunteers won’t be able to hold all of these events afloat. And we shouldn’t expect them to. Yet there are times when it feels like many who call Grace their home rarely are active at these types of events. Do you fall into this group or know someone who might? Why does this happen? Is it because schedules outside the church are too hectic to attend one more activity? Boy, I can relate to that dilemma. My little ones don’t allow Drea and I much time to stop spinning as we move from one daily appointment to another. Or is it because when requests are made for helping hands we feel that this type of work is outside our skills or calling. Again, I understand that feeling. When I agreed to run for your Vestry or be your Senior Warden I had no idea what I was getting into. I’m not sure I really know what I’m doing now to be honest. My education is in engineering not finances or business or organizing events. However, I can tell you that what I have learned so far is that when God calls us in ministry the success of our witness has nothing to do with the skills we have or where our experience lies.
Time and time again our own history and scripture shows us that it is by our Lord’s will not our own that will result in successful ministry. No true prophet or disciple set forth unless they first thrust themselves in relying on the Spirit of God. All authority and power comes from Him. One of our readings earlier this season takes us through the Book of Amos where in 7:14 he says “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees.” Amos is telling us that he was not born into or studied to be a prophet. Rather he was breed to be a herdsman and his livelihood was partially dependent on gathering fruit from sycamore trees. The next verse begins with “the Lord took me from following the flock”. “Took me” as if Amos was content with his current situation. His mind was concentrated on his flock and his business of picking figs. It wasn’t his will to go out and prophesy but rather the Lord was in charge in making it happen. Often we say we “follow” the Lord but perhaps a more accurate statement would be the Lord “takes” us. Almost like a parent grabbing hold of a child’s hand as they cross the street.
When I get out of the car at the grocery store I always grab Leona’s hand and say, “OK let’s go, there are cars to look out for”. I move briskly through the parking lot with Leona in tow as she tries to keep moving, trying not to trip over her feet, and not be distracted by things around her. If I got out of the car and said, “OK I’ll meet you inside” and take off while she tries to find her way I’m sure it wouldn’t end well. She would probably end up running in circles while cars swerve around her, “Ooh a bird just flew into that tree, let’s look at that”, brakes screeching….you get the picture. I would never do that to her and neither does the Lord. When He takes us into ministry He also equips us with all that we need to bear witness to the love we have for Him. He gives us the tools and skills in all that we do especially in the things that we often say to ourselves, “that’s not for me.” All we have to do is trust in His everlasting guidance. Just like Amos, the disciples were taken from their livelihood of fishing to proclaim the Kingdom of God. They weren’t born with the skills but rather again were equipped with them by our Lord. When opportunities arise these next few months look to these inspiring accounts of faith and trust that the Lord will deliver all that we require to bear witness and proclaim the good news of our Lord and Savior.
Your Brother in Christ, Paul Aparicio