The Joy of Serving
written by Rev Gary Heard

There is no doubting the great joy and wonder of serving God at the Spring Fling last week. It was a great time of fellowship together as we endeavoured to reach out to our local community, and be a part of an important community celebration together. The energy levels as we shared a meal together afterwards was tangible Ė even after spending so many hours on our feet and talking with people. But what is the key measure of our success on the day?

It is easy to resort to measurable statistics when seeking to gauge the effectiveness of ministry, whether it be through money raised, people spoken to, or publicity received. Because much of the work of the Spirit takes place out of sight, we are mistaken when we only take those things in sight as evidence of His work Ė much of it must be taken by faith. But we can look back on last Sunday and reflect on the evidence of Godís presence amongst us by the depth of fellowship that we shared, and the joy that we experienced in serving. Add to that the conversations that we were able to share with many folk about both Abbeyfield and the church, and the remarkable experience of ensuring that all bric-a-brac found a new home, and we can be assured of Godís hand upon us during the day. The objective measures: 150 Advocates in the hands of the community, and over $1000 raised for Abbeyfield, are icing on an already tasty cake.

In commissioning the disciples for their first solo stint of ministry, Jesus encountered an exhilarated bunch on their return. His words are an important perspective on the day: ďThe seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.Ē It may be that the impact was not quite so spectacular on the heavens as described here, yet our greatest thanks is for the experience of Godís presence amongst us.

May we know this experience more and more in the ministry challenges we face.

October 27, 2002
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