“We are God’s Co-workers.
You are God’s Field.
You are God’s Building.”
–1 Corinthians 3:9
This verse from a letter by Paul to an early Christian congregation provides a vision of what Christ’s disciples are and should be about. It thus supplies a framework in which to view areas of discipleship we engage in as church.
“We are God’s co-workers.”
You and I are God’s co-workers. Really? People like us, here and now, and not just saints in the past or yet to be born? Amazing! And a bit daunting. For reasons clear only to God, people are important to God, and our ability to choose good over evil means we can help make present God’s loving-kindness in the world. For our church locally this has meant being host to each other in times of prayer and worship, in times of illness and recovery, and in times of hurt feelings and hoped-for reordering of our life together.
In working with others – on church committees, in church events, at soup kitchens, youth retreats and mission fairs – “wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name,” he is present among us. And so we are joined as co-workers with the best and brightest of all.
“You are God’s field.”
We’ve had interest expressed in increasing mission expressed as we’ve looked at ways our financial gifts – both present and past – are and could be deployed. It’s important to ask what we mean by mission. Often it is a term that is held as somehow different from the essence of who and what we are as church, as in “this (just here) is our ministry, and that (over there) is our mission.” Yet the church itself is formed to be a mission outpost in its community.
Here we have the opportunity to name God’s love and justice as core to what we are about. Here we are called to remember we belong to Jesus first. In this place we gather uniquely to ask that the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit guide us in the world. Does a local group undertake the work we feel Jesus calls us to also? Then we are grateful to support it with our prayers and participation, as many here do. Does a wider ministry extend our witness in ways we cannot do so easily? Then we may choose to add financial support, as we have in support of both local and global outreach. What constitutes tending God’s field? It begins from where we are, and is added to from here.
“You are God’s building.”
Finally, to something concrete (and glass, and carpet…). We know we will take care of the physical facility, because it provides a base for us to worship in – and meet in, and pray in, and study in, and teach our children the faith in, and to “marry, carry and bury” God’s loved ones in. People sometimes demur over the notion of giving “to pay the light bills,” yet doing so means we have a place in which to be present to the community as a place of proper welcome, deeper worship and longed-for aid. Remembering we are God’s building first of all helps keep perspective on who and whose we are here for.
To be God’s co-workers; to be God’s field; to be God’s building — what an amazing charge we have. What a precious opportunity. May the church continue to be both blessed and blessing.