We are going to go in a little different direction for a week. I am always in awe of how God directs things. Just as Southside Baptist Church is entering into its annual deacon elections, God allowed me to finish my posts on qualifications for deacons. I don’t know how many people from my church will read these, but the qualifications are out there if they choose to read them. How important is it for Christians to choose their deacons accordingly? Very! Men who do not meet these criteria should never serve as deacons because they will bring harm to the body of Christ. The same is true for pastors — even more so. Sadly, in many churches, our deacons are growing older. I think this is in part due to the fact that most younger men understand that serving as a deacon means serving the people and not running the church. They want to do God’s business. They want to minister like the deacons of old so they are finding other outlets to do so.
On Sunday, June 21, I will be preaching on the last part of our new vision statement. Southside Baptist Church is a group of born-again believers who are committed to serving together through fellowship and ministry. Serving together. Not just pastors serving. Not just deacons serving. All of us serving together experiencing the power — the synergy, if you will — that happens when we come together as the mighty army God has called us to be. Going into the world and making disciples, teaching them to observe all the things Jesus commanded. We could talk about all of those things. Worship God. Live holy lives. Minister to the needy. But all we really have to do is look at Jesus’ answer to the question as to what was the greatest commandment. His answer? Love God with all that you are, and love your neighbor like you love yourself. If we do those two things then we are going to worship God, live holy lives, minister to the needy, and so much more. We will actually find ourselves being the salt that flavors and preserves this world in which we live. We will be the light that shines brightly, illuminating the path of salvation that leads to heaven. We will be the change agents that Jesus taught us to be.
There is one more benefit to loving God and loving our neighbors: we will stop fighting each other and start fighting the true enemy, Satan. We will stop allowing our petty differences to become mountains on which we are willing to die (or kill our neighbors). We will stop being suspicious of other’s motives and recognize that we are all seeking to do God’s will. We will stop worrying about what someone wants to give to the Lord’s work and celebrate the generous spirit that is willing to love extravagantly. We will stop trying to further our own agendas and work together to do God’s business God’s way. In essence, we will start showing the world what it truly means to be Christian and give them a brief, partial glimpse of what heaven is going to be like.