“What Would Jesus Do?”
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have a love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Every year when October comes around I am excited and a little nervous for Laity Sunday. We show God what we did in His ministry for the last year on Laity Sunday. We present what we did and see how God blessed us in our ministry. Laity Sunday is on October 22nd this year. Please come and join us in celebration of our ministry!
Laity Sunday calls for the church “to celebrate the ministry of Christians of all ages in the home, workplace, congregation, community, and world” (the Book of Worship). The United Methodist Church, especially North America’s Methodism, was begun by lay ministers. John Wesley, Founder of Methodism, sent lay ministers to America. Lay ministers, often called “circuit riders,” were sent to preach wherever people gathered. Some of our parishioners’ ancestors might have been circuit riders. Without lay ministers, today’s Methodists couldn’t exist.
We do appreciate everyone’s ministry. We build the church together and work on God’s mission together. Mainly, I appreciate our church leadership for your wonderful ministry. What a wonderful day to celebrate the UMM and UMW ministries and recognize lay servants in our parish and the missions we work for locally and globally!
I want to share a story. There was a pastor named Henry Maxwell. One day, a man came to pastor Henry, asking for help while preparing for his Sunday sermon. The man was laid off from his company and lost his home. After the pastor listened to the man’s helpless situation, he brushed him away and closed the door. On Sunday, the same man appeared in the church at the end of the sermon. He approached the open space in front of the pulpit and faced the people. No one stopped him. He quietly confronted the congregation. He said, “I am not complaining, but just stating facts.” He addressed his situation and that of many workers like him. When he finished his address to the congregation, he collapsed and died a few days later. That following Sunday, Pastor Henry, deeply moved by the events of the past week, presented a challenge to his congregation: “Do not do anything without first asking, ‘What would Jesus do?’” This question, “What would Jesus do?” challenged many people, and their lives were completely transformed. It is a classic Christian story written by Charles Monroe Sheldon. The full title is In His Step: What Would Jesus Do?
We are sometimes challenged to follow Jesus, being a disciple of Jesus Christ, even though our mission statement is “Making disciples of Jesus Christ in all generations [nations].” Have you ever thought about what the disciples of Jesus look like? If I say “the disciples of Jesus Christ,” you may imagine the disciples of Jesus in the book of the Gospel. You may think of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ in the Bible. But what I actually mean is, “us.” We are disciples of Jesus Christ, aren’t we? Let us figure out what being disciples of Jesus means. Disciple means a dedicated follower of Jesus. If you are the faithful followers of Jesus Christ, you are a disciple of Jesus. The book of the Gospel John 13:34-35 says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” So, if you love one another, you are one of the disciples of Jesus. Even though you don’t walk around saying, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ,” everyone may know you are Jesus Christ’s disciple by how you love others.
Like the story, it is easy to say “love.” However, loving in the act isn’t always easy. “Love is not just a feeling. It’s an action. It’s demonstrable. It’s noticeable” (They Will Know Us by Our Love, p.5).
Love cannot be hidden. Even though the person you love cannot recognize your love now, God knows about you and your love. Love cannot hide from God and others. Our prayers sometimes take longer than expected, but God never forgets your prayers. God becomes real to us by love. Love in your actions for others. Love with your hands and feet. Your loose coins can feed hundreds of people in poverty. The clothes and blankets stacked in your closets or storage can help hundreds of people in need. Every moment you face challenges, think, “What would Jesus do?” God will guide your way to becoming one of his disciples.