I Don’t Want to Miss What Matters
Matthew 25: 36-46
May 5, 2013
Spirit of God,
Come as the earth and move me.
Come as the wind and stir me
Come as the fire and transform me.
Convince, convict and convert me,
It is so easy to get caught up in our own little world isn’t it? With all the technology for connecting us to what is happening in the world; Facebook, twitter, 24 hours cable news channels and so on you would think that it would be difficult to just think about what is happening to our immediate friends and family, but it is not.
On the news we hear about so many different crises that it is hard to pay attention to them all. Korea, Iran, Iraq, our congress, poverty and all the other difficult issues we face all seem very far away and so big, that we can’t do anything thing about them so we just cocoon ourselves and try to handle what immediately affects us, because that is what makes us feel comfortable. We (and I am talking about the Western Culture in general) haven’t really developed much beyond the two year old stage of thinking that we are the center of the universe.
Yet, as Christians we are called to realize that it isn’t all about us. We are created to do justice, to show mercy and to love another. We were given by God, an example of how to live the way He wants us to live. His son, Jesus, came into our world to help bring us into a right relationship with God and our fellow human beings, to help us get our priorities straight. Jesus as we heard in the scripture this morning said to go out and help others who cannot repay the kindness. He said to go and visit the sick and those in prison. To help those who have no clothes to wear or food to eat or water to drink. Jesus says that when we show this love to others we are showing our love of Him. Jesus calls us to get out of our own little world and make a difference in somebody else’s world.
Some of you know that I like to listen to contemporary Christian music in the car. I started doing this when my sons were little because they started to sing lyrics to songs that I was listening to that were not necessarily appropriate for a 3 year old to be singing. Matthew West is one of my favorite artists; his lyrics are straight forward, to the point. They can ask profound questions of faith and offer wonderful praise to God. The first time I heard this song (that we will see a music video of in a few moments) I noticed the line “Give me open hands and open doors” and I thought immediately of our United Methodist saying of “Open Minds, Open Hearts and Open Doors”. I thought that he might be Methodist, I don’t know if he is or isn’t I do know that that line describes our denomination at its best and I love that line. The lyrics also ask questions like:
What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose that I could be living right now?
Well I don’t wanna miss what matters; I wanna be reaching out showing the greater purpose so I could be living right now.
Here is the video and I will apologize in advance for the couple of moments of commercial that we have at the beginning of the video, but we couldn’t get it off.
To me that song express what so many people are feeling right now? People are looking and questioning their values and priorities and wondering if there is a bigger picture out there? We as a people of faith know that there is. Our denomination has service to others in its DNA; after all it was our founder John Wesley who went to prisons to share the love of God, who cared for the sick and who started schools. He knew that when a person is hungry they need food first and then they are more open to hear about the love of God. He took to heart those verses in Matthew and lived them out; he put his faith into action. He shared his joy in the risen Lord, by going out of his comfort zone and serving those in need.
In a couple of Sundays, May 19, Pentecost Sunday, our church is taking part in “Change the World Sunday” a national United Methodist event. We will gather here for a short worship service on the patio at 8:00am and then go out into our community and serve others. We also have groups that will be staying on our campus and work on projects that will be sent out into the community. There are projects for all ages and stages of life.
Here on campus we are making simple blankets that will go to children in the hospital, blessing bags for homeless people that you see on the street, UMCOR health kits to be sent to places effect by disasters, hygiene kits for beach cities interfaith to give out to those in need, create cards to give to our military service people and to people receiving meals on wheels, and making meals to be frozen to give to people who are in need of some extra TLC.
Off campus we are picking up trash at the beach, mulching trees, restoring habitat at Bolsa Chica Wetlands, painting a mural, creating a raised vegetable garden and painting a room at a women’s transitional home, painting over graffiti and at the Oak View Child Development Center we are sanding and varnishing and organizing.
That is a lot of projects! That is a lot of service to others in Jesus’ name. The concept of “Change the World Sunday” is for churches to go out and be the hands and feet of Christ, to go out and make a difference in the community in a big way. Last October when we had work as worship Sunday we gave over 600 hours of service to the community. That can make a difference. Imagine if all the United Methodist Churches went out into serving others on “Change the World Sunday” what an impact that would have on our communities. That is the concept behind “Change the World Sunday”.
Now I am going to ask you to get out of your comfort zone in a way. I know that we all have places where we like to sit in our sanctuary and people with whom we like to sit with. In a minute I am going to ask those who can change places to move to a different spot in the sanctuary; the window side to the wall side, the front to back. When you find your new spot introduce yourself to your new pew neighbor, after you introduce yourself share what project you have signed up for or which one you feel God is calling you, you may even want to consider going out of your comfort zone and try something new, but know that whatever project you choose you are serving God by serving others. You can move now and I’ll let you know when the time is up for sharing.
I hope that you are all as excited about “Change the World Sunday” as those on the committee that is putting it together. You can check out the sign up board on the church patio for the projects
Our church family created a new word to describe who we are as a church. We came up with “ining” because we are a church that likes to be in action; learning loving, singing and serving. We want to be out in the community being the hands and feet of Christ out in the world. “Inging” fits our church rather well I think, it is a quirky little word that describes who are when we are at our best. When we are living out our faith, walking the walk and not just talking the talk.