During the sermon this Sunday I preached on the declaration of Jesus that his followers would, “also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these.” John 14:12 I believe that far too often we dismiss this reality in our lives. Notice that I said reality not hope or promise. We are all very quick to downplay the impact that our lives and our faith make in the world.
On one level this desire to downplay the impact of our ministry is rooted in Biblical admonitions. The Apostle Paul reminds us that it is easy to become boastful of our impact. Yet Jesus himself provides a vision of the church that is powerful and impactful in the world. The world around us is truly in a mess. The far reaching effects of sin are clear to identify and each of us experiences them in our lives. Even so, Christ declares that our lives have the power to do Christ works in the world. The important thing for us to keep in mind is that any “success” in doing the works are is fully dependant on God’s abilities not our own.
As part of the sermon we viewed a video about the work of Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. (See the video below) I believe that this video shows us that the works of Christ in this world are truly something that we can accomplish. Consider the people in the video who are clients in of the WFCM food pantry. Each of them have had their lives touched by the love of Christ through the provisions they receive. This may not seem so grand. Some may be saying,
“It’s not as if we are spitting on dirt and giving people sight.” Nevertheless, each of those folks who are beneficiaries of WFCM’s ministry have their lives affected.
At times I feel guilty that our ministries at Christ Presbyterian aren't as risk-taking or hands-on as I would like and I do believe we need to keep pushing ourselves to take risks. With that said I do think we need to occasionally take stock of what God is doing through us. We are Christ body in the world and frankly we are not as withered as we sometimes think. As a congregation we have been doing the works Christ has called us to. Even in the simplest of works like our monthly WFCM food collections we are taking the gifts God has given us and using them to carry on Christ work.
Did you know that last year we assisted partner organizations like WFCM with $14,784. This number is up from our most recent giving significantly. This number is also only a reflection of cash sent to the organizations. This number, $,14,784, represents approximately 4.5% of our total budget. In one respect this is a small percentage, but when you consider that a church with our membership has much the same overhead as churches twice our size it reflects well on our continuing commitment to the work of Christ in the world. What this number also fails to include is the in-kind support we give to families through our backpacks, food baskets and our monthly pantry Sunday collection.
More importantly these numbers fail to show us the individual impact of our work. We will never know the impact of a backpack given to a Chantilly student. We most likely won’t ever hear how a family meal at Easter impacted a family's life. Nevertheless we know that God is doing something grand with the work we are called to do. Our challenge is to trust in God for the results.