Reflections by Elder Jean Worshington:
"GOD USES ORDINARY PEOPLE TO DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS" Someone used this phrase several months ago and I thought it would be a good basis for my devotion but wasn't quite sure how to use it. I did want to bring to mind to some of the ordinary people in the Bible with whom we're familiar who did extraordinary things.
Noah who argued with God about building an Ark until God said (to paraphrase). . . how long can you tread water? So backed up against a wall, he built the Ark, a very ordinary man who argued with God about what he was called to do. . . sound familiar?
Of course there is David, a man after God's own heart so the Bible tells us. Not only an ordinary man but also a flawed man capable of adultery and murder but used by God in such extraordinary ways and a progenitor of Jesus.
The disciples, all ordinary fisherman just as we encounter on the Belmar , Brielle, Point Pleasant docks. They were just ordinary men doing their ordinary jobs until God got hold of them and then they walked with Jesus and what extraordinary men they were.
What really prompted this devotion is that over Christmas we were at relatives who live in Fair Haven and they were discussing Holy Cross church in Rumson which is going to be demolished to make way for a new, larger building. It is a beautiful church about 100 years old. The feeling in the community is that this decision has split the congregation. I couldn't help but think of our congregation and and all the ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, not only to expand the church building but also to expand the church.
The long range vision of the Planning Committee, the By Faith We Build committee, the families who have been in this church for many years, generations even who were willing to see this beautiful old building changed because unselfishly they knew it was needed for future generations.
A Pastor and a Staff with the ability to help carry out the vision. The Transition Team, who organized and did the leg work for finding storage, all those who dismantled and helped with that project, Bob Burkitt who retired just in the nick of time, to become the Project Manager. And once we moved Marcello and the choir, Cathy Gaestel at the 8 AM service the worship committee, the flowers and all those volunteers who set up and break down each Sunday which has transformed a theater into a place of worship. A special thank you to Sean and Todd. The Children's Committee, Sunday School superintendent (and wife) teachers, parents and children, young and older, who adjusted to tremendous changes. The Finance Committee that keeps our noses to the grindstone. And all members of Session who for 3 years have made decisions that have effected the entire congregation and these decisions have not been easily made.
There are also the Deacon's and the ongoing work of the church while the building project continues. The food pantry, and their work but especially at Christmas and Easter, the Community Supper, 105 lunches packed by our youth for the Asbury Park Center and the homeless in Lakewood, the lay Pastors who care for our shut-ins, 157 shoe boxes filled for Operation Christmas Child. Time does not permit mentioning all those who deserve recognition but God knows who they are. Christ's work has not stopped by this project, if anything it has expanded.
Bill Hybels devotes one chapter of his book to a concept “this is church”. We are expanding a church building but this year we are also expanding a church as he defines it: quote“a community of real people with real, beating hearts who are attentive to each other and responsive to each other and quick to extend grace and mercy and love”. Unquote. In Esther 4:14 Mordecai's answer to Esther's reluctance to go into the king was “. . . . who can say but that God has brought you into this place for such a time as this”. Who can say but that God has brought all of us into this church for such a time as this.
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
May God continue to bless our efforts to serve Him.