A call for Care Group participation
The question that has stirred the hearts of man since the dawn of time begs, why am I here? It's a natural, innate, and necessary question to ask. Mark Twain is known to have said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why." While Twain held no semblance of faith as far as Christianity is concerned, he did seem to capture the essence of what we as Christians need to ask themselves. To the Christian, “finding out why” we are here is critical because finding out why suggests the reason for our existence. So what is the reason? The reason, in short, is to discover the talents given to us by God, and use them in the service of His kingdom.
Jack Swigert was the command module pilot on the failed Apollo 13 mission. If you remember from the movie of the same name, or from reading the account, Jack was not scheduled to be one of the crew members of that flight. As a precaution to a supposed impending illness, Swigert takes the place of Ken Mattingly. We don't know for sure how the mission might have turned out one way or the other had Mattingly been aboard, but that isn’t what Swigert reflected on. He didn't reflect on the "what ifs" of the situation, he simply acted on the requirement of his talents, and his calling. Jack went on to pursue politics in his home state, cut short by a losing battle with cancer. But before he died he said, "I believe God measures your life. He puts you on earth, gives you certain talents and opportunities, and, I think, you're going to be called to account for those opportunities." He’s right of course but not just because he says so. In fact, it should bring to mind a parable given by Jesus.
In Matt 25:14-30 we find the parable of the hidden talents. Lest anyone miss the point of the parable, it is not a lesson on finances. It is about the responsibility, and our accountability of the God given talents we have to serve in His kingdom. God put no limits on the growth of His kingdom. Jesus said the fields were ripe and that the only thing lacking was the harvesters. That means the only restrictions that exist are the ones we put on the kingdom by not using our talents; by burying them in the ground. We all should reflect on the two responses given in that parable: "Well done good and faithful servant," vs "You wicked and slothful servant." We have talents, we have a purpose, and it is the calling of Christ Jesus to put those talents to work.
Not all of us have the same talents. Were I to be called upon for my carpentry skills for example, we would all quickly revert to the tents of the first century. I’ll leave that calling for Chuck Leasure. It is rather the combined effort of all Christians, which is why all of us serving together is so important. We should remember that service is not participating in worship or attending bible study only, but also serve as reminders and motivators to “spur one another on toward love and good works” Heb 10:24. A sign in the parking lot of a church building in Florida, viewable only as you leave the parking lot reads, "You are now entering the mission field." I've always liked that. It's a reminder that leaving building marks the beginning of our service.
One of the most important reasons we have Care Groups is to seek out and encourage the use of our God given talents in His service whether individually or as a group. It is not a responsibility given only to a few - it is everyone's responsibility to find out what their talents are and how best to use them. Make the effort in 2017 to join a Care Group, to participate. Participate for the fellowship, certainly for the food, but mostly – to serve. Read the parable of the talents, remember the talents to which you've been entrusted, invest them, bring back to the Lord more than you were given!