So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1st Corinthians 10:31 NIVUK)
The question, “why?” is an important one.
It is often one of the most basic questions a person can ask. Children will ask things like, “why is the sky blue?”. The question, “why?” is frequently an attempt by one person to understand something. Granted, frequently asking the question over and over can become annoying (again, I am thinking of children), but it is nonetheless an attempt to gain understanding.
How we respond to the question, “why?” is also important.
We could respond dismissively; “because this is just the way it is!” That may well end the line of questioning, but it will often leave the questioner dissatisfied. Indeed, if we think about it, we haven’t really answered the question at all!
As Christians, I believe the question “why?” is one we should continually ask: of ourselves, and of the Church. Why do be believe what we do, or behave in the way we do? Why does the Church do certain things in worship and in service?
Equally, how we answer these questions truly matters. If the answer is, “because it’s always been this way”… well, that’s not good enough! We are not called to be unthinking automatons who mindlessly follow: we are the People of God, redeemed through His Son, Jesus Christ, and we should know why we do what we do – seen as we are meant to be doing it in His name!
I, therefore, encourage the question of “why?”. By reflecting on why we believe or do certain things, we will either reinforce that we are doing the right thing, or challenge ourselves to move toward the right thing. It is for this reason that our over-arching theme of 2019 is that question: Why? It is an invitation for us all to reflect on our Christian living, and on the life of our congregation, and to ensure we are doing the right things for God.
Because, ultimately, that is what matters. As we ask, “why” and reflect on the answer, we should eventually reach the foundational answer: we do this for the glory of God. It is the glory of God alone which should matter most to us as Christians, and it is His glory we should seek in all we do.
If we are confident that what we say/do/believe glorifies God, then let us do it all the more. If what we say/do/believe does not glorify God, then we would do well to set it aside, so we can concentrate more on the things which do bring Him glory.
I pray God’s blessing upon you as we begin this new year of reflection, asking the question, “why?”.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3: 20-21 NIVUK)
It was the week before this years Holiday Club, and I asked how many children had registered. I was told 3, with the assurance that, “that’s 2 more than we had this time last year”.
I confess that I began to feel increasingly anxious about the attendance at the Holiday Club, fearing that it would end up feeling like a bit of a flop. I, therefore, began to pray, “God, if we could just get 30 children, like we had last year, that would be fine”.
Wonderfully, by the end of the Holiday Club week, I believe we welcomed around 70 children in total, with the highest attendance going to 48 on the Wednesday. I was in awe – not only had God answered my prayer, He had done so beyond what I had asked, or even what I imagined might be possible.
What can we learn from this?
The first, I think, is that prayer works! I have been wondering why we had such a successful and well attended Holiday Club. We didn’t really do anything differently this year: we planned the same, advertised the same, held the Holiday Club on the same week.
So, what made the difference this year? I believe it is because we had a much greater and concerted effort of prayer before the Holiday Club. This, for me, is a very powerful example of the fact that prayer works, and God answers prayer!
The second thing is that, not only does God answer prayer, but He does so beyond out imagination or expectations. If you’d told me that we would engage with 70+ children in the same breath as telling me we only had 3 registered, I would not have believed you. I would have thought it impossible. Yet, God confounded my expectations, and did a much greater thing than I could imagine.
I believe God is trying to show us what He can do when we turn to Him and earnestly pray for the ministry of our congregation. He can help us achieve things beyond our imagining!
I hope this example can act as an encouragement to us, to marshal our prayers and seek God’s hand in the ministry of our church. If we do, we cannot begin to imagine what God will achieve, for it will be immeasurably more; not so that we can glorify in ourselves, but so that He will receive all the glory throughout all generations, forever and ever!
May God bless you,