With all the social noise we have had over the last several years I have been wondering how do we as a people of Christ proclaim the hope and love of our commission. Let us recognize, however we feel about the Christian gospel, that it is rather amazing that the story of God’s redemption has been able to survive over the centuries despite the wars, plagues, social upheavals and all that the world has endured over that extent of time.
How can we stay faithful to our commission even in times such as these? One thought might be something I have come to call “The 4 Fs.” What are they you might ask? Well let me tell you. They are Faith, Fellowship, Fidelity, and Forgiveness.
First of all, we need to maintain our faith. Yes, it is faith in God as the creator of all things but also faith in God as the one who redeems us and binds us together in life and ministry. AND we also need to have the faith in God that recognizes that God does not create duds. We need to hold a faith in the gifts and talents that God has given us to build a people that can shine a light to the rest of the world of grace, hope and love. Faith can teach us that God may not always call the qualified, but God will always qualify the called.
Faith also needs to trust in the gifts of our sisters and brothers in the faith. We need each other in the life we proclaim and share. As we have special gifts for the upbuilding of the church, so do our fellow servants in ministry. They are a part of the whole in God. We can not devalue their role in ministry, nor can we reject our need of them in our lives as a part of our combined service to the world. None of us can stand alone in life. We need that connection with each other to care and support us in our own lives.
However, that kind of connection requires a fidelity, a faithfulness, to the fellowship of all as we together face the challenges of life. No one is an island and no can find any success or peace without the participation of the whole. Only together can we hope to continue because separately we will certainly fall.
In order for the fellowship to hold together we need to learn how to forgive one another for those times when we will act or speak in ways that harms one of our brothers or sisters in the community. We need to learn and nurture a character of compassion that helps us in understanding that we all fall short at times and only through an ability to restore broken relationships can we stay strong. Without forgiveness the anger and vengeance will chip away the cohesiveness of our fellowship and we will become lost in a sea of fury and vindictiveness.
If we can learn how to live under the 4 Fs, we will not only survive but we could learn how God can help us thrive.