[pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]This is how we all live together in our church families, right? My new Christian lens told me this. We’re God’s holy people set apart to be his representation in the world. Holy does mean to be designated or consecrated to God. Holy is sacred. God’s people do holy things.[/pullquote]When I was warming up to God almost 20 years ago, I’d have done anything anyone asked me to do in service to the church. Make 600 cookies for an Easter event, done. Set up, serve at, and tear down church events, done. Clean up hospitality after Sunday services, done. Serve in children’s ministry, done. Make PowerPoint slides, done. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as they say. Finally, after years of being distant from God, and having no real friendships, I was in a place where I was experiencing Christian community. From my perspective, there was no pecking order or hierarchy. We were all in it together serving God, his church, and the community.
When I think about this time in my life, I think of Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica. This letter of praise and encouragement was written to a church of new believers urging members to persevere and to live godly lives in spite of trials.
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 – 7
The church was conducting itself in ways that were pleasing to God – its members were mindful, honorable, considerate – they were living right with one another.
This is how we all live together in our church families, right? My new Christian lens told me this. We’re God’s holy people set apart to be his representation in the world. Holy does mean to be designated or consecrated to God. Holy is sacred. God’s people do holy things.
My tenure at the church where I became a Christian was short-lived. The week after being baptized, my family moved from Colorado to Pennsylvania. It was in PA my family found our church home. Little did I know 16 years ago God had plans for me to become a pastor on the staff of this church. I joined the staff in the fall of 2000 still eager to do anything anyone asked me to do in service to the church. I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity.
As with all things involving humans, humans are involved. Yes, I had the Holy Spirit in me to guide me; and yes, I was keenly aware I was to follow Jesus’ lead to serve and not be served, but my humanity got the best of me.
My expectations of my co-workers changed. I began to compare myself to them. I weighed one job against another. I threw shots over the bow under the “I’m just joking” guise. I eventually came to the conclusion some ministry positions were better than others, and my position was somehow less valuable.
Let me tell you, this is a miserable place to live and it certainly isn’t holy. I wasn’t living right with anybody. I was a conspiracy theorist who was bitter and angry the majority of the time. That state of being just about devoured me.
By the grace of God, I was given a truth-telling co-worker/friend who I’ve had the honor of serving with for many years. It was in a yearly review he said something that was God’s word to my ears. He said, “Terri, you have an amazing way of making the mundane holy.” There’s no one else on our team that does that. I admire and respect this.” When we left our meeting I sat silently letting those powerful words work their way into my head and heart.
The mundane is holy. Whatever God gives is holy. Colossians 3:23 – 24 tells us so:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Whatever God asks, wherever we are, whoever it’s with, it’s holy. Why? It’s holy because it’s not about the what; it’s about the who. No matter what it is whether it’s making copies, emptying trash, holding a baby, visiting a friend who’s ill, writing a thank you note, or preaching when we do it for God, it’s holy. This is the life that pleases God.
I’m forever grateful to my friend for helping me understand.
By sharing her personal faith experiences, her thoughts about following Jesus and what it's like being part of his church, she hopes to help some navigate a new journey and challenge those already on the journey as they travel the faith road together.