Yesterday the Mason United Methodist Church got more of the same prescription from a different “doctor” so to speak. A friend who attends the Sistersville First UMC preached his third annual sermon before the congregation of the Mason UMC. He preached about running the race as a Christian and the crown for which we strive, not an earthly, perishable winner’s crown, but an eternal, imperishable victor’s crown. He compared the life of a Christian to an Olympic gymnast on the balance beam. We all traverse the beam or path in different ways. Some crawl, some cling, some risk. Some slide off the beam in the end to land in heaven. Others fly off and stick the landing, arms held high. The gist of the sermon was that the Christian life is meant to be a life of service lived for the glory of God.
At first, I was thinking it would be nice if he preached a change of pace from what the church has been hearing from me. God has been giving me message after message just like the one my friend delivered. For the church, it may have felt like, “Here we go again”. Some preachers beat the drum against homosexuality, preaching about it all the time. Some beat the drum for inclusiveness, preaching about it all the time. If our church was surveyed, they would probably say I beat the drum for doing for others, especially those who do not yet know Jesus.
But I believe God spoke to my heart about the drum I’ve been beating and the similarity of my friend’s message yesterday. Not only are “good works” evidence of our faith (James 2:26), but helping others is the miracle cure for almost every one of our ailments! Depressed? Go help someone, you’ll be uplifted. Got pride? Go volunteer at a homeless shelter or prison and you’ll be humbled and grateful. Is your heart broken? Go visit a children’s hospital and you’ll see and hear about faith that moves mountains that will help your broken heart be mended.
God knew what He was doing when He told us to visit the lonely, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, etc. Not only are we gaining an eternal reward, but there is a side-effect. (It’s not gas or bloating, and it does last longer than 4 hours.) Serving others makes this life so much more meaningful and is exactly what “THE Doctor” ordered to relieve the ailments in our own lives.