Helping Our Leaders (3 John)

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In today’s reading, again John speaks about good and evil men, and talks about something new. The last couple days we’ve seen John speak about love; whether that’s God’s love for us, our love for God, or our love for each other. Today John speaks about caring for those doing ministry work.

October is Clergy Appreciation Month, so if you haven’t taken some time to thank your clergy members for all they do, I would suggest you do that. They’d would certainly enjoy hearing that. However, there would be some people out there that would ask, “What does the pastor do aside from giving sermons on Sunday?” There is a ton of stuff they do! The have to make visits to the people in their congregations that in the hospital or bound to their homes. They have to handle the administration of the church (oversee committees, deal with the building, supervise staff, etc.). They have to maintain their personal relationship with God. The probably have to attend larger church meetings (especially if your church has a hierarchy in it). They have to help out with your church ministries. And on top of that, and many other things, they must put together a sermon (and possibly a worship service) every week! They life of the clergy seems rather exhausting to me, and I definitely appreciate all the work my pastor does.

But imagine if they had to do all the things they do, and still worry about where they will live? John calls the church to a place where we should support our clergy. “So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.” (3 John 8 NLT). Paul makes several claims in his writings that it is the church’s duty to support the clergy (1 Corinthians 9, 1 Timothy 5). ┬áSo we should make sure that our clergy members all well taken care of, so their focus can be on doing God’s work, not their livelihood.

But this also can be taken to other leaders within our churches. We do have other leaders that we should support, because they are doing God’s work. I’m not trying to say that they must be paid. What I’m trying to say is that we should be helping their ministries as well. As a worship leader, I am a leader in my church. Yes, I am paid a small amount for my work, but the support I am most interested in is people being a part of the music ministry I lead. That support helps me to be more effective to reaching different types of people.

In my church, when you become a member, we ask if you are willing to support the church and it’s ministries. Everyone involved needs that support in order to stay functioning. It doesn’t have to be money, it can be your presence and involvement. So get involved, and help these men and women that need partners and support in order to do God’s work.

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If You Believe The Way You Say You Do

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I’ve been listening to a CD the last couple of days and a song has really struck me. The CD is Need You Now from the artist Plumb, and the song is Unlovable. It has struck me because it has gotten me to think about the way we, as Christians, tend to view people and treat them accordingly. This is especially a problem when they aren’t your typical Christian. For instance, the typical Christian would view a single mother, that was never married, much differently than a woman who had been married or is a widow. Why? Any one who believes in Christ should be treated the same as other Christians.

In Mark 2, we see Jesus eating at a table with sinners and tax collectors. These men and women were largely thought of by the Pharisees as non-associables. The religious leaders wanted nothing to do with them, and were shocked that a man who not only is a teacher, but a man claiming to be the Son of God would associate with these people. When asked he responds, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17 NASB). Jesus spent time with these men and women because he saw a need and sought to fill it. As Christians we should do the same.

I feel that in today’s culture, we get so hung up on how to live and doing the right thing, that we tend to push people away. People reject the gospel, not because of personal unbelief, but because of how a “Christian” acted. To me, this behavior is probably finger-pointing (it could be other things, but this usually what it has been). Putting people down, and showing them all the ways they have been wrong is not the best way to lead people to Christ. Yet, this seems to be the preferred way. I believe that the best way is through a conversation that shows all the good Jesus has done for us, not all the wrong we’ve done against God. It’s true, we’ve all done bad (Romans 3:23). We cannot maintain the high standard God has for us. But that is the point of Jesus. God knew that we couldn’t fulfill all His requirements, so He came to earth to fulfill them for us.

So we must think about the way we speak to non-believers about Christ. We can’t push people away that need our help. Christ came to help sinners like you and me, so we must also be here to help sinners like us. The lyrics that got me thinking about this were:

“Why me?
Why am I not welcome in your company?
Why do you treat me like an enemy?
If you believe the way you say you do
Oh, then why am I unlovable to you?
Oh, why am I unlovable to you?”
-Plumb, Unlovable

So let us perpetuate this faith that we say we believe and extend our hands to help those that come to us looking for help. It’s what Christ would do, so we should to.