It comes as no surprise that followers of Jesus are called into service. The example we follow is a man who lived his whole life pouring it out for others. Ours is the religion of the upside-down Kingdom, where the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Where the lost and broken amongst us are the first to receive the invitation into God’s family. And because we live in this reality where our words, thoughts, and deeds confirm that God must become greater and we must become less – service is just a part of who we are. It isn’t about a checklist of doing good to look holy but being used by God through obedience to make holy moments happen.
If you haven’t heard yet, there have been 12 weeks of holy moments happening through our church and community through the ministry of Job’s Partnership. For years, this church has financially supported the work of Job’s Partnership, but this is the first year that we have hosted a class. It took almost a year of prayer, planning fundraising and training to make this Fall Class possible. I have to especially thank Anita Williams and Dave Olsen who have been a part of this program for many years and whose passion and selfless attitude have made this ministry a transformative one.
On Thursday, August 25th, while I was caring for my one-week old, dozens of volunteers, leaders and coaches gathered at the Reeves Campus to welcome and begin week one of Jobs Partnership. Now, 12 weeks later, there are 17 graduates that we will celebrate and send off this evening. These 17 graduates have persevered through two hurricanes, heavy rainstorms, weekly homework, personal challenges and in two cases, drove all the way from Ocala to participate in this class because we were the only Job’s Partnership that provided childcare for their kids.
Thanks be to God!
These 17 individuals now have the skills, confidence and connections to move out of the job that they had to settle for and into the careers that they are now passionate about. And you all helped make that happen.
It took the lifestyle of service to change the lives of 17 individuals for the better. I am so proud of our church, of our leaders and of the many individuals that gave of themselves by coaching, mentoring, providing a meal, watching children, praying for and encouraging these beloved people. All of you, the body of Christ called First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, made this ministry possible. There are too many of you to name, but you know who you are. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ through this ministry.
When I think about being good stewards of our service, I think of Job’s Partnership and the people that made it possible. Tonight, as these 17 class participates become 17 graduates, I thank God that many of you gave up a night every week to love on, encourage, teach, pray, feed and share. All of this is an act of service. Whenever we live outside of ourselves, when we put others first, when we see in them what they can’t see in themselves; we are serving. Whenever we show someone that they are in fact beloved and made in God’s image; we are serving. And whenever we come together as one body to serve, we glimpse a part of God’s Kingdom. From a practical perspective, there are now 17 more people with enough hope and acquired knowledge to better navigate the business world today. But even more importantly, 17 people now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God created them for a purpose and for holy significance and that gives me HOPE.