Work to rule? Not for us!
Ready to help, support, and to share … serving our neighbour has many aspects. Chief Apostle Schneider calls upon all of us to put our gifts and talents at the service of our neighbour and not only think about ourselves.
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider celebrated a divine service in Depok in Indonesia on 21 May 2017. A total of 10,000 brothers and sisters participated: in our church in Depok and in 128 congregations around the country. The sermon was based on 1 Peter 4: 10: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Christians are called upon to serve their neighbour …
The epistle of Peter is addressed to Christians confronted with the hostility of a pagan society. The author urges them to persevere in faith and support one another. His words are still relevant. We too have tribulations to deal with, the Chief Apostle said. All of us are called upon to serve our neighbour with the gifts that we have received through grace.
The gift of faith. “It is grace that we can believe in God. It is grace that we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the Saviour sent by God for our salvation.” Now we have to apply this faith, he added. And the best way to speak about this faith is to tell our neighbour that Jesus Christ wants to help us overcome sins and that He forgives us.
The gift of God’s love. “Our love for God helps us to persevere when we must suffer as Christians.” But this love also enables us to love our brothers and sisters. “Let us use the love of God to strengthen the unity of God’s people.”
The gift of grace. “The better we know Jesus Christ the more we become aware just how much grace we need to have fellowship with Him.” This also affects the relationship to our neighbour: “Because I am so grateful for the forgiveness of my sins it is not difficult for me to forgive my neighbour. It is not only a condition—you have to forgive to be forgiven—no, it becomes a need, a desire of our soul.”
The skills and talents God has given us. We have received diverse gifts. The Chief Apostle urged the congregation to use these individual talents and skills: “Let us use our skills to the glory of God and for the benefit of the congregation.” One skill we all share: the ability to pray. “We know we should pray for salvation first,” he said. We should first pray for the spiritual before we pray for the earthly.
Material gifts. “Everything we have in life is a gift of God’s grace.” It is grace that we have certain resources, that we have money. And with reference to the Bible text the Chief Apostle said: “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” That also means not to grumble when our offerings are used outside of our own congregation so that the Church can do its work and the Apostles can fulfil their mission.