What If…? Alpine 2021 Stewardship Series
What if…? What if we cultivated a heart like God’s? What if we put God first? What if we joined into something extraordinary? What if we all used – not just our money, but our time, gifts and talents to serve God? Our 2021 stewardship series here at Alpine (coming October 31st – Nov. 21st) will explore what if we had not just more money, but more hearts, more creative brains, more diversity… just plain more people joining in? How can we get more connected to God’s amazing world changing mission?
One of the questions that our youth asked me during a recent mission trip was “Why is it so hard for Christians to serve one another?” As I pondered how to answer this, I thought the simple answer was probably the best. It is because we are too self-absorbed to actually love the people around us. Our society has sold us a bill of goods. They have convinced many people that love is a commodity that can be obtained or experienced. You barter love away and hopefully you get a good return on your investment in your relationships. This is the very antithesis of how love is demonstrated to us in the life of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t barter with love (giving it only to those he can trust and who will love him back). Instead, Jesus gives love away freely and abundantly without expectation of return. Because Jesus loves so freely and because he is not focused on just obtaining a pleasurable experience from another person – God is both revealed and glorified in all that Jesus does. As people experience this kind of love they are changed. They begin to heal and to love others. Their faith grows, their experience of God becomes more profound and the lies of this world are revealed for what they truly are –lies.
But because we are so self-absorbed, living lives so riddled with sin, we find it hard to serve others. Because it seems hard, we give up. We fall further into believing the lies the world tells us and our faith is diminished. This is why serving others is so important. It reverses this process. This is why it is so closely connected to our own spiritual growth.
But it also widens our vision and ability to see and experience God. If we aren’t serving others, if we aren’t joining in God’s ministry, then we are becoming more self-focused. It is a death spiral for our spiritual lives. The more we focus on ourselves, the more detached we become from God (even if God’s presence is still in our lives). The more we take our eyes off ourselves and serve others, the more we are connected to God. This results in us gaining a deeper ability to see, experience, find, follow, and hear God.
It is also why it is one of our core values – because it is essential for us if we are to fulfill our mission: Called by Christ, our mission is to share God’s love. In so many situations it is the essence of simply serving that will break down the barriers that prevent people from knowing the love of Christ.