January 29, 2023 – World Service Fund/Fourth Sunday after The Epiphany, Year A
A Moment for Mission
“Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”- 1 Peter 4:11, NRSV
Mirrors are everywhere. They help you make sure everything looks right before heading\ out the door. A mirror is useful because it helps you present the best version of yourself. You have more in common with that mirror than you might think.
The Book of Genesis reminds us that we are created in the “Image of God”. Our lives are handcrafted to be reflections of the Lord’s goodness and mercy. This doesn’t get any clearer than when we look at Jesus’ ministry.
Throughout his time on earth, he discipled church leaders, welcomed both the elites and the outcasts, brought hope to the poor and healed the sick. If we’re reflections of God’s image, shouldn’t we be doing those things?
There is good news! The people of The United Methodist Church are actively living into Christ’s call to go out and make disciples of all nations, sharing hope and love wherever we go— that outreach would be possible without the World Service Fund.
Throughout our global connection, the World Service Fund serves as a cornerstone of mission, empowering The United Methodist Church to be the Body of Christ in action.
Your faithful giving helps the UMC become the church our communities need it to be. A Monday Meal ministry in Oklahoma now provides on-site health clinics and clothing items for people in need. Skateboarders so often pushed off the streets are being welcomed to share their stories— and their tricks— during “Skatechurch.” Communities across Africa will have stronger food security and more access to renewable energy through the Bishop John K. Yambasu Agricultural Initiative.
The gifts you give through the World Service Fund make it possible to change hearts and transform the world in Jesus’ name. Your community and communities around the world have many needs. We can’t do it alone, but together, through the World Service Fund, the people of The United Methodist Church can share the God’s good news of hope and love.
What was the last kind thing you did for someone? How did that feel? (Allow for answers) We know how great it feels when people are kind to us, so it’s even better when we share kindness ourselves.
I heard there was a man who celebrated his birthday by doing 40 random acts of kindness, one for every year he’s been alive. Cool idea, right?
He paid for the order of the person behind him in the drive thru line. He dropped a $10 bill in Walmart to help someone get the things they needed. He found 40 ways to show kindness.
Who can you come up with seven or 9 or ten kind things, or enough to total your age? My list would be really long!
Kindness can be really simple, like saying thank you or holding the door for somebody. Other times, it needs more effort, like when you stick up for a friend being bullied. What are other ways you can show kindness? (Let kids answer)
Peter, one of Jesus’ apostles, made sure to be kind in his letter to one of the first churches. People weren’t being kind to them, so he reminded them that God loved them more than they could ever know. We can’t earn God’s kindness, but we can go and share it with others.
Let’s pray: God, thank you for loving us! You make us so happy. Help us to show kindness to others and help people in need, just like you have done for us. Amen.
Holy God, we thank you this day for the presence of the Holy Spirit and the various spiritual gifts you have given us. You are good and gracious. As we bring these tithes and offerings before you, may they be used to empower us as the Body of Christ to “speak with your very words” and serve with the strength only you can provide. All honor, glory, and power are yours, Lord., now and forever. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: God of all blessings, your beloved son teaches all we need to know to claim the life you’ve hoped for us. In spite of that, we live like the rest of the world that is eager to accumulate and reluctant to give, showering adoration on the rich and powerful and pushing the poor and powerless away. As we bring to you our gifts, which are the result of your blessings, help us to remember who Jesus called truly blessed! We pray in the name of our teacher and savior. Amen.
Jesus’ ministry was a perfect example of what true love and community can look like. As people of God made in His image, we are sent out to take the love, hope, joy and peace of Jesus Christ to a world in need.
United Methodists have a deep-rooted history of connecting with their neighbors, whether it be sharing meals, opening their doors to skateboarders or finding ways to increase food security. Our local church might not be physically involved in this work, but we do contribute to its success.
Your financial gifts on Sunday morning and throughout the week help make opportunities like these come to life. We acknowledge, as United Methodists, that our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world can’t be done alone.
Our global connection unites us in ministry and mission with churches one town over and continents away through the World Service Fund. Your faithful giving helps make the World Service Fund a cornerstone of mission, empowering The United Methodist Church to be the Body of Christ in action.
Remember this in the coming weeks, that when you place your offering in the offering plate, you are helping us become the church our community— and our world— need us to be as we offer hope and love together in Jesus’ beautiful name.