Thursday, June 17, 2010

Local Mission "Trip": Day 4

There was a lot of hammering, prying, leveraging, lifting, and lugging today on the fourth day of the Saint Matthew Lutheran Church local mission "trip."

We spent virtually our entire day at Cyndy's place, removing the siding from an old--undetermined age--tractor barn. Some of our group also helped remove and sort items from another storage barn.

Our young people worked hard and we were blessed to have great adult supervision from members of the Saint Matthew family.

The day brought the week's first mishaps. One of our young people obviously reacted adversely to something in the barn and was developing allergy symptoms when we sent him home. There were a few other bumps and bruises. But all in all, people were careful and we got a lot done.

We also made a short stop on the way back to the church building in the afternoon, back to the home of Michele, whose deck we treated yesterday. There were potted plants that needed re-placing. It was fun seeing the deck because it looked so good...our young people had done a great job!

The Scripture passages on which this morning's devotional time was based were from 2 Thessalonians, the second of two New Testament books written by the the first century evangelist, Paul, to Christians in the Greek city of Thessalonica:
...we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13)
Originally, Paul wrote these words to a confused church. Some of the Thessalonian Christians, knowing that the risen and ascended Jesus would come back to earth one day to fully establish his kingdom, had stopped working. They argued that it wasn't necessary to work since Jesus would come back soon. These lazy church members became a drain on the members who continued at their jobs, becoming dependent on them for food. They also became "busybodies," their days filled with gossip instead of productivity. Paul tells these idling Christians to get back to their work.

Above all, he says, "Do not grow weary in doing right." Loving and serving our neighbors as we've been doing this week is part of the "right" life that Jesus Christ sets us free to live. Christians who sit around on their "blessed assurance," can become busybodies, gossips, irksome pieces of furniture, rather than joyful people using their gifts and their opportunities to glorify God, share Jesus, and serve others.

By this time in a mission trip week, it's easy to be weary with doing what's right. But may God use this week to teach us all that, whether during a mission trip or everyday lives, it's always the right time to do God's will. May God also teach us this lesson from the Old Testament:
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)
Tomorrow, we plan to stain Betty's deck and then help prepare the Saint Matthew fellowship hall to host an Italian Dinner on Saturday. (You didn't know that German Lutherans are great at Italian cuisine?) Proceeds from the dinner will support youth and servanthood ministries--like this week's mission trip--at Saint Matthew.

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