Recently, First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill celebrated Laity Sunday. The theme was “Celebrating You!” The worship service at all three Sunday morning services was led by Cherie Gamble, lay leader and a group of lay servants. The scripture reference was Ephesians 4. The following excerpts from Gamble's sermon were submitted by Bill Clark.
Today we are celebrating the laity! And that’s YOU! In the dictionary, laity is described as "ordinary" people, distinct from the clergy. God has used the ordinary throughout His scriptures, and He still does today. He’s telling us to live a life worthy of the calling we’ve received. I am so thankful He has given spiritual gifts to the men and women in our church to build us up, to help us as a whole be strong in the Lord. What gift has he given you to serve God's church?
If you read Ephesians, the scripture says: "From him the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” That means you and me and the person that's sitting next to you too, all have a part in making and creating what God has given us here in this church and in the body of Christ as a whole. We are like one big jigsaw puzzle with each piece fitting together perfectly.
So with all this being said, we need to think about the part we play in God's service and His greater plan for us. The scripture tells us how to do this. Look in verse 2, “Be completely humble and gently, be patient, bearing with one another in love.” But how exactly do we get there, especially when it’s difficult? And how do we become ordinary people—laity—doing extraordinary stuff for God?
It is important that we work together, come together for each other. We need to be ready to play our part as the body of Christ for each other. If we, in our personal walk and as a church, focus on Christ, we’ll be focused on His will for the body of Christ and this will drive our church forward into the direction and will of God.
So I’ve turned FOCUS into an acronym to help us Focus.
F - Forget what others are doing.
Wow, that's difficult. We live in a world where we try so hard to keep up with the Jones's. New cars, new golf cart, clothes, perfect marriage, powerful job. We have our eyes right on the front of our face, looking forward all the time and look at how distracted we get. Putting our eyes directly on God and His call for our life will help us Focus. Proverbs 4:25-27: “Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established.” As His children, we must keep our hearts and minds on Him.
O- Only one God
Scripture says in John 14:6: "He is the way the truth and the life, No man comes to the Father but by me". So many times we put other gods before our God. When we try to fill our plates with other things that are outside of the will of God, or when we choose to put them before God, that’s when we get into trouble.
C - Continue to discipline yourself and others
We are so blessed with Godly men and women who lead us in the truth here at First United, but we can’t just depend on them. It’s our job to keep ourselves moving toward Christ. Leaders can’t do it for us. If we are not moving toward Christ, in our study, prayer and fellowship, we might as well be standing still. We need to activate prayer, study, and fellowship in order to move closer to Christ. Without all three, we are really not moving ahead.
U - You are worthy!
Many times we get caught up thinking that we are not good enough. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, it's said: “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” God has given each of us a part to play in building up His church.
S - Start right now
It doesn’t matter where your heart and mind were when you came in here today. The only thing that matters is where we go from here. As a church, each of us must be every supporting ligament like Ephesians says. In our physical bodies, ligaments are very important because they connect our bones. The hold us together. Once they are stretched, they are weak. If they begin to unravel, they become weaker and weaker. That’s why each one of us is so important as laity of this church.
The church is like a jigsaw puzzle. Every one of us is an important part of it. Where are we as a church going today? What do our ligaments look like to God? Are we strong and supporting each other? Are we FOCUSED on Christ and His will for our lives and His church?
Unity puts Satan in his place!
As I close today, I want to urge you to think about your own personal walk with God. I’ve talked a lot about the church and our mission for Christ, but it starts right here. Revival begins with one. Then it can move like a wildfire among us. Where is your heart? Are you ready to go where He leads?
I love the lyrics in the song Oceans: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”
Please know that it really doesn’t matter if you don't remember what each letter of the acronym stands for. Simply remember to FOCUS on Him!