We all have to decide what God is calling us to do. And sometimes we forget and are not clear about what God called the disciples and Christians to do. Last week, someone suggested pastors and the church are like those who sell insurance, only we sell "Heaven Insurance." Although the suggestion that the church and pastors sell "Heaven Insurance" may seem like a noble calling, I have to wonder if that is what Jesus called his disciples to do. And if we are not in the "Heaven Insurance" business what is our business and what is the role of pastors and disciples?
First, I would suggest salvation comes from God's action. John 3:16-17 says it best: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." We are saved by Jesus' willingness to die on the cross for us. We are all dependent on Jesus' actions not our own. Judgment belongs to God alone. We cannot sell "Heaven Insurance" because Jesus has already paid the bill.
Second, Jesus calls us to be his disciples. A disciple is one who chooses to learn from the teacher. And, in the case of Christians, commit their lives to become more and more like Jesus every day. Pastors are granted authority to preach the Word, however, like all Christians they know that to grow as a disciple only happens through reading God's word, praying and meditation, worship and following the other disciplines of the faith. Without attention to the disciplines we become a Christian in name only not a Christian disciple.
Third, Jesus call us to be in the business of sharing God's grace and love with others. And he defines our job in Matthew 28 where we are called to baptize all nations and lest, we forget, to teach them to obey all they were commanded to do. And in John 21 when we, like Peter, answer Jesus, affirming that we do love him, Jesus commands Peter and us to feed and tend the lambs and sheep. However, our ability to feed and tend the sheep, is dependent on our acceptance of God's salvation and our willingness to grow as Jesus' disciples.
Want information on being a Certified Lay Minister sharing God's love with others?
I would invite you to talk with your Pastor, District Superintendent, or Board of Laity. You can check into your conference programs for Certified Lay Ministry. You are also welcome to check out the Lay Academy for Rural Church Ministries which has classes that will help you learn how to share God's word inspiring worship and sermons, leadership and teaching. For more information contact Rev. Dr. Carl K. Ellis.