24 September 2020
July - Faithfulness
The airforce understood about commitment. I was listening to the stories of one of our senior retired elders this week. He was talking about his wartime experiences in the airforce. One task his group had was to package parachutes. This was a job which carried with it the responsibility for the life of the person using it. The commanding officer would come in at times, take a packed parachute off the shelf and tell one of the packers - go and jump. In the same way when they were servicing a plane for its big overhaul, a man from the team doing it would have to accompany the pilot on the test flight. This really is quality control!
Being faithful in packing correctly every single time was important, there was no room for mistakes, not even one little one because a person might die if you did it incorrectly.
The parable in Luke 16: 10 tells us that "whoever is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much and whoever is dishonest in little is also dishonest in much. and if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another who will give you what is our own?"
Sometimes we put aside the small things thinking it doesn't matter and nobody will really notice the difference. Faithfulness is about the way we do it, as well as what we do. Have you ever realised how many people serve God and us as the church community faithfully in the unobtrusive tasks they do and they keep on doing them, well, carefully and lovingly?. A vase of flowers on the table for the Bible Study group is not essential but every week it is there placed carefully by one person - it makes a difference. Those who turn up in plenty of time for duties and make sure it is done, it makes a difference. Those who ensure that the floor is clean, the flowers arranged and the music is ready for the Sunday service, all these are small things but we notice if they are not done and they make a difference. The work done by our Session and Board members, quietly and without fuss, giving their time and those who help in the community centre and op shop. All these things say we care - not about buildings and things, but that the people who use them are valued and they want it to be clean and welcoming as we would do it for ourselves..
Faithful in little things - our prayers for our neighbours, trimming stamps for leprosy mission, the way we use our time and talents, the extra care taken to do something well.
There is an integrity in faithfulness, those who are faithful are faithful in everything they do and others notice. If we are not faithful the parable says then we are serving another master
One elderly friend of ours as a young minister had showed much promise. He served as a chaplain during the second world war and returned in a state of breakdown. He was convinced he was unworthy, he left the ministry and eventually was able to pick up his life with his family and got a job in a retail paint shop. He worked there for many years and then retired. He was a humble man but one day he told me of his surprise, when just before he retired one of the staff thanked him for leading him to follow Jesus. He was amazed as he had never spoken of religion all those years. When he asked the man how this had happened he said he had watched him over the years. He observed how he had listened to other staff and helped them with their troubles, he had never taken a shortcut in his work, he always gave the feeling to others that they were valued. This man said I knew you followed Jesus by the way you loved us. It turned out that quite unknown to him he had had a tremendous effect on those he worked with. He had not followed programmes or the latest ways of reaching ones work mates for Jesus - he had just been faithful. His ministry had been fulfilled in that place through his faithfulness.
Let us give thanks for those who have been faithful in our lives and who have shared their faith in Jesus with us even maybe when they have not known it. May we at St Johns and St Philips be a community which is faithful in following Christ in all we do.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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