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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (September 2014)

posted Aug 27, 2014, 12:14 PM by Russell D. Hampton

He gave them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the wild birds come and nest in its branches.”  He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen.”~ Matthew 13:31-33

Concerning the 2nd Petition of the Lord’s Prayer (“Your kingdom come”) Luther writes,” The kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself; but we pray in this petition that it may come unto us also.”  The kingdom of God comes on its own.  God sent Jesus into this world.  Jesus died for our sins and ushered in God’s salvation.  God claimed us as his own beloved children through the saving and redemptive work of Jesus Christ.  This salvation has continued to come to people through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The kingdom of God grows and nothing can stop its growth in this world. 

So, what is our role in all of this?  We pray that the kingdom may come upon us.  We ask that God will keep us faithful in proclaiming God’s saving work through Jesus Christ to this world.  We hope the Spirit will give us the gifts we need to proclaim God’s Word in what we say and what we do.  We devote ourselves to prayer, worship, Scripture reading, and reflection so we might grow in our own faith.  We share the Word of God with others so that they might become followers of Christ as well.  The point is: God uses us for the work of the kingdom!

How can God use (or continue to use) you for the work of the kingdom?

1.     Pray about it.  And when I mean pray, I mean ask God the question, “How will you use me God?”…then listen.  It is in the prayerful listening we can hear the voice of God and feel the pull of the Holy Spirit.  I know the listening can be one of the hardest things for me to do.  Nevertheless, listening for the voice of God helps to place me in God’s presence.  When I am in God’s presence, I am more open to hearing what God would have me do.

2.     Talk to a trusted church leader or friend who might help you recognize your gifts.  When I was called to the ministry of Word and Sacrament I didn't just experience the inner call – the call of God.  I experienced the outer call – beloved church members who felt I had the gifts and talents to pursue a calling to ordained ministry. Don’t be afraid to ask.

3.     Take the opportunity to pursue a ministry endeavor that you have never tried.  It can be scary to try something new.  We might become anxious.  But, we don't know how God can use us.  Plus, it is a wonderful opportunity to grow in our faith, ministry and mission.  I remember in college, a friend asked me to join a group who visited the local state mental hospital.  I was a bit scared at first.  I didn't know what I might encounter.  After the first visit, I found I really enjoyed it and my life was enriched because of those visits.  I still remember Annie – who didn’t like anyone else from the group – but would always walk briskly to me, take my hand, and made me sit with her.  To this day, she reminds me how we are called to enter into the lives of the last, least, little, and lost of this world.

I could probably continue, but I am going to end here.  Yes, God’s kingdom comes on its own, but God still wants to USE YOU for the work of the kingdom.

In Christ – Pastor Maureen