I love those weeks where unintended themes just run straight through everything that we do.
After the service, we held our annual Small Group Ministry Fair -- and this year, we cheated a bit and included FCC ministries other than just our Small Groups, such as Sunday Schools, Women’s Ministries, and the Audio-Visuals Team. Now, arguably, those first two include interactions about Scripture within groups that have smaller numbers of people in them, but that last one... well, we decided that it was kind of its own Small Group and gave ’em a showing anyway. As a result, the theme this year was a little less “please consider building community within one of our Small Groups” and a little more “please consider what smaller-scale but more personally interactive ministry you could plug into here at First Covenant.” And, wouldn’t ya know it, the A-V Team kind of ran away with the whole Fair, what with their amazing light show (you think I’m kidding), and added to their number. With an emphasis on humbly just helping, they excelled.
We talked about that more than just a little bit in our kick-off Adult Sunday School class this Sunday as well. Rather than jump back in at the same point in Philippians, we did a one-day review of what we’ve looked at thus far -- and, go figure, Paul emphasized getting over ourselves and our personal check-boxes to follow the example of our humble Saviour, who gave up everything for our sake.
And then, in our message this week, we continued looking at the shortest books in the New Testament by walking through 3 John (located the page before last week’s Jude... which itself is located the page before John’s Revelation). On one level, 3 John is just a little bitty personal letter from John to his friend, Gaius. There aren’t that many personal letters in the Bible, so that would be interesting in and of itself. But when you look at the letter a little more carefully, John provides us with three clear character studies (well, four, if you include what we can see about John himself in the letter) -- and one of the running themes throughout the characters is their willingness to be humble.
Gaius was affirmed for living out his faith so consistently -- especially when it came to taking care of others within the Body of Christ (even strangers who were missionaries to the area). Diotrephes was the opposite of Gaius. He was all about being first, and he had neither love nor time for anyone else’s ministries. In fact, he went so far as to disfellowship anyone in the church who felt any differently than he did on the subject. Demetrius, on the other hand, was spoken well of by everyone, and had a good heart for ministry across the board -- a positive external witness, and a positive internal walk with God.
If you had to pick a good example to follow in your own life, whom would it be? And -- let’s be honest here -- would you actually then be willing to commit to actively following that example?
So let’s consciously choose humble fellowship over selfish ambitions -- how to love and support others as an act of worship, rather than just focusing on the things that matter the most to us personally.