Spotlight 10/2022: Giving and receiving go hand in hand
Seeing and experiencing the congregation as one heart and soul, without paying too much attention to the differences and boundaries, continues to be a challenging objective. This is how District Apostle Rainer Storck (Western Germany) describes it, who together with his administrative staff serves over forty countries.
Regarding our motto for 2022, “Together in Christ”, the Chief Apostle said, among other things, that this also means that we need to look beyond our own generation, our own congregation, or country. And that means being prepared to give to others and also receive from them.
Putting these thoughts into practice is sometimes quite a challenge. A congregation is made up of members from various generations. There are the seniors, the parents with their children, the youth, and the children in Sunday School and Pre-Sunday School, to name only a few. By their very nature, these age groups have different ideas about what church should do for them and how it should do that. Incorporating all of these wishes can be a balancing act, and sometimes they are irreconcilable.
We often speak about our “home” congregation when we talk about our own congregation, and we want the very best for it. If we are fixated on our own congregation, however, and maybe ignore the needs of a neighbouring congregation that is perhaps not so well positioned and equipped, this is not good. Here too it is important that we give and help and support.
Forty-five countries have been assigned to our District Apostle Area. In some of the countries the conditions are fairly comfortable and the congregations have everything they need. In other countries, some which are very poor, the people often lack the most basic necessities. This applies to natural life, but also to the congregation. Many people would love to be able to attend services in their own church, but the means are often limited and this is hardly feasible. They gather in rented quarters or outside under a tree. Also in this respect it is important that we look beyond the borders of our own country, and reach out to our brothers and sisters in other countries.
In Acts we can read about the first Christian congregation in Jerusalem and there we find an important clue on how we can make a valuable contribution to the community of Christ. It says in chapter 4, verse 32: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” This coincides with another statement by the Chief Apostle regarding our motto “Together in Christ”. He said that those who live in Christ are attentive and responsive to the needs of their neighbour and share in each others’ joys and sorrows.
Let us strive to put this into practice!
Photo: Frank Schuldt