I was ushered into a paradise hidden within the bounds of Columbus this week. I was on the hunt for something specific and a man, who only offered Billy as his name, opened the lock that secured the gate, behind which acres of potential waited for discovery. I was about as far south on 10th Avenue as you can travel and had inquired about some used metal roofing from EJ Knight’s scrap yard. That is when he pointed me across the street to go scavenging. It was like a scene from a Hollywood – the kind where the innocent guy stumbles upon a body or becomes one. It was awesome back there.
I spent thirty minutes, alone, perusing the items that other people had offered up as being no use to them. I had a revelation standing there in middle of all of it: every bit of this was the part of a project, or a plan, or even a dream. Every item was intended for use somewhere else but had now landed in small piles that are spread across this fenced-off yard.
Some of it can still be captured as treasure. Most of it would accurately be described as trash. Either way, none of it was originally intended to end up there.
I don’t think the church is really anything like the lot on the corner of 10th Avenue and 5th Street. But, I started to think about the church as I was there. Specifically, I was thinking about how grand Epworth is, both the place and the people. I was reflecting on what we will do this weekend on Consecration Sunday. Each commitment card becomes our individual response to the work of God in our lives. The very act of submitting one, in some ways, is an indication of our faith in God that we will have enough leftover to provide for our needs and the needs of the others who count on us. But, God is also at work. God takes our offerings and redeems them. God takes our individual amounts, some small and some large, and brings them together to do a greater work. The ministry of Epworth is advanced by the faith of her people and the work of God.
I struggled this week to capture the past year of ministry in the letters that went out this week. From buildings, to baptisms, we’ve had an amazing year. We have provided pastoral care, nursing home visits, discipleship opportunities, and countless other ministries in the church. We have renovated the hallways, doubled our available parking spaces, built a Children’s Wing that is state of the art, and are in the midst of making the Fellowship Hall first class. We have served people in Columbus and other continents. All of this happens because people give.
I want to be used, as long as I can, for my created purpose: to be loved by God and to reflect that love to others. Epworth is filled with people are living and giving for that purpose, as well.
Grace and peace, Scott