It's preseason football in the NFL and we are reaching the last few days before the college football season begins. Many in the south (and really the entire nation) are hyped-up and excited. Coaches, coordinators and personnel specialists have been evaluating film, watching preseason games and scrutinizing practice sessions. They are looking for those players that have reached the very highest competence levels for their respective positions. They all want to put the very best team on the field.
If this is true in football, do you think it might be true for something much more important? Do you think God evaluates His team and knows who has reached the highest levels of proficiency for His purposes? Do you think Jesus sends out (and calls out) those who are gifted by the Holy Spirit to bear fruit for His plan and kingdom? I sure do!
Sunday begins Missions Month. We will have a weekly testimony from seven of our missions teams. That testimony will, hopefully, give you a glimpse of the work of God happening in our midst. Through our missions people are clothed, fed, visited, equipped, nourished, healed and (especially) loved. I am excited to hear about God's work here at Abbeville UMC.
This Sunday our Benevolence mission will be highlighted. This includes the Abbeville Christian Benevolence Fund (Calvary, 1st Baptist, AUMC and other congregations give to this), our food pantry and other budgetary line items. During each year over $22,000 flows to these special community needs with funds from AUMC coming from the regular budget ($2,500), the Missions Auction, the Race to Be Fed (between $3,500-4,000 each year) and gifts from individuals in our congregation (including gifts at 5th Sunday gatherings). While all of these giving options might seem a bit disjointed this is probably the largest single amount given to local missions in the Abbeville community. This happens through hard work of those involved and your gifts that happen almost unconsciously.
In Matthew 25 the people being sent off to eternal life with Jesus ask, "Then the righteous ones will apply ... 'When did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will say, "When you did it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" (Matthew 25:37-40).
They didn't realize what they were doing. They gave, served, visited, helped, healed and loved with unconscious-competence. As our football culture, meaningless in eternal context, seeks players who are so good at their positions they can perform without thinking (unconsciously-competent), maybe we should invest ourselves in becoming unconsciously-competent servants of our King! Randy