Message flagged Tuesday, August 16, 2011 9:09 PM
Message body"...for the good of others..."
"Each one, as a good manager of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God." (I Peter 4:10)
One flower is nothing short of an intricate, amazing display of God's creative Spirit, but a group of flowers growing together can create a spectacular carpet that just might hint at the glory of heaven!
This Monday morning I walked into our church office, only to be greeted by a message on our answering machine that grated on my nerves. A helpful adult called to let us know that the day before he had been following our church van down the highway and witnessed various pieces of trash (including a milkshake) come tumbling out the back window of our van and scatter on the pavement. It wasn't difficult to locate us since the church name, address, and phone number are painted on the van. I appreciated his call, but couldn't personally thank him because he didn't leave his name or contact info.
You see, we are blessed to have (and I mean that seriously) a youth group at this time that is comprised mainly of middle school-age youth. Sunday afternoon we had been traveling with the youth to lunch and then later to our "Under the Bridge" monthly mission trip with the homeless when the trash flew from the van windows. Developmentally, middle school is a time for youth when a lot of focus is on the "me." They tend to be much more egocentric with a view that it's often okay to do what they want or what their impulses tell them to do as long as they don't get caught. It's much more difficult for them to grasp that they are part of a larger "group" (ie, the human race) and that their individual actions have an impact on the "group." I'm not making excuses for their behavior. I'm just trying to name what we're up against as we try to help them learn this critical lesson - namely, that "me" is really "we" with the "m" turned upside down. In other words, we're trying to help them learn that life is relationship between me, God, and all the other "me's." My decisions have an impact on others and vice versa.
That's exactly what the writer of I Peter meant when he admonished the members of the Christian community of faith with,
"Each one, as a good manager of God's gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God." It is more then a lesson for us to learn. It is a critical transformation necessary for us to live in fellowship with one another and God. Unfortunately I've known some adults who are still awaiting this transformation in their own lives. Each of us needs to be transformed from "me" to "we" by the awareness of God's love in our lives. This transformation is at the very heart of our individual survival and fulfillment, and also at the very core of our survival as a community, nation, and world.
This transformation may come slowly and needs ongoing encouragement and nourishment to be sustained. If we're not careful and attentive it's actually possible to roll the "w" back over and make it "me" again instead of "we." Pray for us as we encourage this transformation in our youth. You might want to be in prayer especially this Sunday evening because that's when our youth and leaders will be gathered for fellowship and to listen to that saved message on the church answering machine. I pray that God will give me patience for teaching them, and encouragement for my own ongoing transformation from "me" to "we." How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.
Check out my new video, "Teens Surviving the Storm"