I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
Paul sends this letter to a few people: Philemon, a friend and fellow worker; Apphia, our sister; Archippus, our fellow soldier; and, to their home-based church. He commends them for their love of the church and their faith. He prays that they share their faith in Christ and that they would have a deeper understanding “of every good thing we have in Christ.” Clearly, there is a partnership between Paul, this church, and with the members themselves. This partnership relates to having “a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” How can we bring about this gift of understanding today?
I think volunteering within our church helps create a unity of purpose and brings about this understanding. Years ago, my wife and I danced with a team in the opening of a Christmas program at Willow. What a stretch for me—a choreographed Salsa. Patience and grace abounded as the producer and other dancers encouraged me through it. My wife was fine. And when some people at work joked about seeing me “dance,” I knew my faith in Jesus had gone public.
Another time, I had the privilege of praying with a Central American pastor while serving in the prayer room during a Global Leadership Summit conference. I didn’t know much Spanish then, but I did know a phrase that I had learned years earlier, “¡Ayúdame, oh Señor!” “Help me, oh Lord!” (Matthew 15:25). We were to pray together, but I was mostly silent. He prayed intensely, eventually calling out ¡Ayúdame, oh Señor! Hearing this prayer that was so special to me touched me deeply. I felt united in spirit. Those words had been tucked away in my memory and were used to stir me to pray confidently for the pastor.
Later, I volunteered at Willow Huntley shortly after the office was opened on Route Forty-Seven. I was responsible for organizing the off-site storage rooms. It was a time of quiet solitude each week in which I felt part of the ministry team.
Upon reflection, I have found a connection with the body of Christ by volunteering at church. I’m convinced that if you want the deeper understanding that Paul prayed for Philemon and his community, volunteering is key. See what happens. I did.
If you aren’t already serving, perhaps it’s time to try it out. Click here to see how you can get plugged in.