Yesterday was Resurrection Lutheran Church’s annual Faith In Action Day. Over 200 volunteers worked on a wide variety of service projects. From making snack kits for children-in-need and kitchen packs for families in transitions to serving meals at local food shelters, we honored and celebrated one part of our mission statement: To Serve the world God loves. I wrote about my first experience with Faith In Action day here.
It was a day that both encouraged and humbled me as a pastor. I was extremely proud to see children, youth, and adults using their gifts, talents and dependable strengths to help their neighbor. I felt like a cheerleader, supporting all the good works. I was also humbled because I realized that so much of the good that members do does not require a pastor, but rather the power of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful for the team of lay members, led by Terri Dokken, who coordinated the fifteen projects we worked on.
Earlier in the morning I preached on Ephesians 2, especially verse 10,
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
In my sermon, I talked about two kinds of good works. The first is the kind we experienced on Sunday, volunteer good works. As volunteers we do something directly to help our neighbor in need. We pack food at Feed our Starving Children or pound nails at Habitat for Humanity. These are valuable experiences where we learn about the needs of others and actually practice service in a tangible way. Plus it builds a sense of community and identity as old and new member work side-by-side.
But there is the second kind of good work, the daily good work, where we love our neighbor in our daily activity. A mom or dad who taxis the children to their daily activities, a nurse or doctor who treats patients, a social worker who aids families in caring for an aging parent: all of these can be considered good work. Some good works become our vocation or career. Hopefully as Christians we see our career as a way to serve others, either directly or indirectly. I have written regarding daily work on other posts: here and here.
Both volunteer and daily good works are valuable and productive. One of the values of volunteer work for youth and families is that it helps youth begin to discern their vocational callings, so that it can become “our way of life.”
Lord Jesus, help us to walk in the good works you have prepared for us.