Rustlings (April 11, 2016)

For a few more weeks, we will walk in the Easter Season. Pentecost – the 50th day after Easter – concludes this holy time on the church calendar. These are the days we celebrate the resurrected Christ appearing, disappearing, walking, talking, eating and sharing last words and moments with his disciples. Among those ‘famous last words’ is a what we traditionally call the ‘great commission.’ Matthew records it, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” This is not a task that any one of us can accomplish alone.

This past weekend, I attended the annual gathering of the Alliance of Baptists in St. Louis, Missouri. Several other members of First Baptist also made the trip. At the same time, other members of our church attended the General Assembly of the South Carolina Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. And this Summer, many of us will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the General Assembly of the National Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I know for many of our church members, these simply sound like institutional names. Entities that are far removed from the daily routines of carpool, clocking in, picking up the mail, changing diapers, cooking supper, preparing a Sunday School lesson, mowing the lawn, etc., … But our attentive support to these gatherings of our like-minded brothers and sisters of Christ are one way we accomplish the task set before us in Jesus’ last words. All nations is beyond my personal reach. All nations is beyond the reach of our individual church. But all nations can know the message and ministry of the gospel through our combined monies and efforts.

The Easter Season is almost over. Before you know it (I can’t believe I’m saying this), the next holy season of Advent and Christmas will be upon us. I hope you’ll generously be faithful to our weekly budget needs at the church. A portion of those gifts undergird the work of our larger ministry partners. And I hope you will plan to generously increase your gifts to the Lula Whilden World Missions Offering this year. ALL of those gifts support mission and ministry partners in the world.

My ears are particularly attuned to Jesus’ last words during the end of this Easter Season. I don’t want to lose sight of all nations…

— Jim