Are you being served?

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

 Are you listening, are you acting?

The challenging words above from Jesus’ brother are unequivocal. They call for us not only to open our ears and pay attention to the preacher or teacher, but to absorb the Word into our deepest being so we are marinaded in it to the extent it breaks forth in action out of love for God and our neighbour.

So, are you serving or are you being served? Hopefully both. But so many in our congregations are consumers and not contributors. Excuses, excuses, excuses; too busy with work, family, health, wealth issues. Busy, busy, busy. Really?

The importance of being Ernest (or Tom or Dick or Harry)

I responded to a message such as this 20-odd years ago when my children were very young. Sunday School teachers were, and sadly still are, in short supply.

What are your memories of Sunday School?

Carly Fiorina (erstwhile CEO of Hewlett Packard) in her interesting autobiography Tough Choices recounts how she was given a coaster at Sunday School that read;

“What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.”

Clearly these words are foundational for her and gave her direction. My own memories are less inspirational and are more along the lines of being inoculated against organised religion! Fortunately that immunisation has long since worn off and I have found enormous reward in teaching Sunday School, even now as an empty nester.

I teach 11-13 year olds in a wonderful team that consists of two couples and a young man. This means our pre-teens have four men in their class at different times throughout the course of the year. This is unique in my experience and so valuable as the children, particularly the boys, see male role models in a predominantly female preserve. Hopefully this gives the boys, at least, some incentive to explore their own faith at a key moment in their physical, emotional and spiritual development.

For me, the empty nesting season in my life has led to less busyness and allows me more time to plan, to teach, to lead; although I miss my own children’s help in finding the cultural references!

As the academic year comes to a close we face the perennial problem of staffing for the forthcoming year. How is that? With 25 children registered in my class that means there must be close to 50 potential teachers; how light the load would be if they all stepped up next year!

Are you listening, are you acting?

S0 where does that leave you? If not here, Sunday School, where? If not now, when? If not you, who?

Are you being served or are you serving?