John Putman, UK
In one of those memorable passages in the closing verses of the book of Joshua, Joshua declares ‘choose this day whom you may serve…but as for me and my family we will serve the Lord ‘ (Joshua 24:15). How lovely to be part of a family that is serving the Lord.
When Rose and I married some 50 years ago, Rose could not think of a family member anywhere that was not serving the Lord! We are not all privileged to be part of a family like that – far from it in fact. But by God’s Grace we are part of a Heavenly Family. I rejoice in being part of the Lighthouse Community. There is such a healthy feel to this family of friends. It is exactly 30 years since my first foray into Eastern Europe. I will never forget the love and generosity shown to me by the Christian Community in Brasov, Romania. Thirty years later I am still in touch with one or two of those dear folk.
As soon as circumstances allow, I look forward to the time when we can all meet together as a Lighthouse Community again, but in person where it will be especially good to welcome friends from Lithuania, Ukraine, Albania and Romania more deeply into the fold. How important it is to remember that we are family.
The church was never designed to be an organisation run along professional lines. The church is not a business. The church is an organism – something that is living. Whenever the church is referred to in scripture it is always with regard to something living like the flock in John 10, the vine and branches of Jn 15), the family of Rom 8 and the bride of Eph 5.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes the church as being a body – a unit made up of many parts. And each part has a different function. We each have the same Holy Spirit and we each have something special to contribute to the family. And so as a family we are enriched by our breadth of experience and the fact that we are from many different nationalities. Each part of the body is dependent upon the other. Within the family we have different roles, different functions and different responsibilities but no one person is more important than the other. When Paul speaks of spiritual gifts he asserts that all the spiritual gifts are important….there is no gift that is more important than the others. If the Spirit of God lives within us then we are essential to the family of believers. No one should feel that they are going it alone.
As a family of believers we are in this together. Christianity is not a spectator sport – we are all on the playing field! God wants to take hold of each one of us to equip us and use us for the honour of His name and for the building and enriching of His church. Together – as God’s family – we are greater than the sum of our parts.
How good is the God we adore! We praise Him for all that is past and as his family, we trust Him for all that is to come.