Vision Letter #4
There was a farmer who had two horses. One horse consistently worked hard and never gave up. The other was slower and less involved. When asked about his horses, the farmer would say: “when it comes to work, both horses are willing; one is willing to do it, and the other is willing to let him.” Sadly, the same can be said about church ministry today, as we instinctively follow the 80-20 rule (20% of parishioners do 80% of the work). Is this how God envisioned his Church?
The reasons why people choose not to serve are varied. For some it’s a lack of commitment to Christ and His Church. They may attend church, but their true interests are in the world, and getting involved in ministry becomes inconvenient. Others sign up to be ministers, but the lack of attention, training, or encouragement leads them to give up. Some feel inadequate or criticized. There’s some who do so much that they end up overwhelmed and quit. Some give up because their heart was never in ministry—it wasn’t about God, it was about gaining admiration or respect. Whatever the reason may be, many simply find it easier not to get involved, to simply sit in their pews and let others serve. But if scripture has impacted our lives—and if we firmly believe in Christ—then our faith demands that we live a life of mutual and loving service.
Building Our Community by a Renewed Commitment to Service
(2 Timothy 1:6-7)
Timothy was a young man graced with many gifts and talents, but leading a Church had many challenges. The fire within him was dying and he wanted to give up. Paul admonishes Timothy to “stir into flame” his gifts, to make his ministry burn with intensity. Much like with Timothy, our life in ministry will come with many disappointments. It is our choice allow these challenges to either defeat us or to make our gifts and talents grow. We cannot allow our moral strength to be destroyed by discouragement or fear. “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power, love and self-control”(7). We must look beyond our discouragements and see the power of the Holy Spirit working within us; with generous hearts we must express our love for God and His Church; and we must practice self-control in moments of difficulty or fear. Living our Faith is not about being comfortable, it’s about fearlessly sharing our gifts and talents to help Build God’s Church. Doing ministry is not the responsibility of a chosen few (the clergy and religious), but rather, every baptized person is called to also be a Minister. If we claim to be a Christian, and if we consider Our Lady of Perpetual Help our home, then we are ministers of this Church—young or old, man or woman, newly Baptized or Cradle Catholic…every single one of us is a Minister for God.
Through baptism we are called to be Faithful Stewards of God;to share in the responsibility of sacrificing and investing our time, talents and treasure to making manifest God’s love to the world. It may sound like I’m asking for too much, especially for those who feel that they already “do enough”. But, are we willing to allow our faith to impact the life of our community and lead us closer to Christ? God desires that we use our gifts as a catalyst for His Church. Can we find this same desire within us?