The Core: Part 4 - Involvement in Ministry
I love to laugh at funny ways kids get things mixed up, especially when it comes to things related to church. For instance, there are lists of examples of ways kids have misspoken the Lord’s Prayer over the years…
* One Preschooler from Uniontown Ohio used to start off the prayer with, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, how didja know my name?"
* Another youngster thought God’s name was Harold… “Our Father, who art in Heaven. Harold be Your name...”
* A elementary school boy thought there was a line that read, “Lead a snot into temptation.” He said he always thought he was praying for his little sister to get into trouble…
* There’s the 5-year-old girl who prayed, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some e-mail.”
* And maybe my favorite is the 4-year-old boy who asked God to, “forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.” (that might actually preach!)
Those are funny, but there’s a phrase in the Lord’s Prayer I want to focus on that I think a lot of us might have a little mixed up. It’s in Matt. 6:10 and says, “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
It’s a rather significant phrase! We’re asking that our world would start to look like heaven; that God’s will would be accomplished in this life; that it just might be possible that we wouldn’t have to slog through this life in despair, grasping on to the hope of heaven someday. In praying that part of the prayer, we’re asking God to intervene, to bring heaven to earth, to overcome sin and its consequences, to push back the darkness and shine the light!
It’s an awesome part of the prayer, but I think too many people pray that thinking that God is going to just zap that all into being. He can. And He has. And He might. But I wonder… I think too many of us recite words to this awesome prayer and then think our job is done. I mean, we prayed the prayer didn’t we? Now it’s God’s turn to act, right? Yes, but…
Could it be that you and I are meant to be part of bringing God’s kingdom and His will to this earth? Could it be that God’s plan for accomplishing His will, for overcoming the consequences of sin, for pushing back the darkness, may just lie in our hands?
Ephesians 2:10 says that God has created each of us uniquely and has prepared ‘good works’ for us to do in this world. I think that God’s plan includes us doing those ‘good works’ to push back the darkness so His kingdom can come and His will can be done on earth as it is in heaven, even now!
As a church, one of our core values is that each of us has a part to play in accomplishing God’s will. We believe every Christ-follower should be involved in ministry, doing those ‘good works’ just as God prepared them. He has put you together, uniquely, in order to serve Him by serving others. You are the only person who as ever lived with your unique mix of talents, gifts, personality, experiences and relationships. And God wants to use you to make a difference for Him! He wants to use us all to bring His kingdom to earth, accomplishing His will.
So I don’t ever want to pray that part of the Lord’s Prayer passively again, as if our only part to play is to quote a few familiar words and feel good about ourselves. God accomplishes His work through His people. He doesn’t have to, but He has a long track record of using earthly people to do heavenly work.
God desperately wants to bring His kingdom and His will to earth, just like it is in heaven, and He wants to do that through US!
So I hope you’ll be praying with all of your heart for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done. You can’t pray any better than the words of Lord’s Prayer! But then, after you pray, will you work with all of our might as God leads you? Get involved in ministry! It’s at the core of what it means to follow Jesus.