Saturday, March 23, 2024

A good and faithful servant

David Sexson at the
SABA Hunger Walk

I first met David Sexson in the loading area of the San Antonio Food Bank. He was there with a crew from Mayfield Park Baptist Church. I was picking up for Baptist Temple’s Food Pantry. We would talk as we waited for our food, comparing notes about serving the hungry families of our respective communities.

David was an unchurched teenager who had come to know the Lord at age 14 when a church planting missionary invited him to a new church start. David's life was headed in the wrong direction, but he found a new life in Jesus that set him on the right path.

Serving 26 years as a Dental Technician, David retired from the US Air Force and then worked for another 21 and a half years at the UT Health Science Center Dental School. He greatest joy, however, comes from serving God. “I consider it a privilege that He works through me,” David said. 

David has served churches in a variety of administrative and teaching capacities, always ready to pitch in when needed. He’s been on numerous mission trips both near and far, but the most memorable one was to a leper colony in Thailand. There he witnessed a level of human suffering that he had never seen before or since.

Baptist Temple made a strong first impression on David. He said, after his first time worshiping with us, that he truly felt God's presence and that the people were very welcoming. He was also impressed by the level of activity and the many opportunities for him to serve. “I'm not going to a church where I can't do things,” he said.

He loved to work in our food pantry. We would meet at the Food Bank and load up our vehicles. I was amazed as to how much he could fit into his small car. David would pick up food, stock the shelves, and speak with each client as they came in. He would take time inquiring about their physical and spiritual needs, praying with them, if they requested. Afterwards, he would restock, clean up, and update records.

David had to step back when his health began to fail. The cancer that slowed him down soon took his life. His fellow workers stepped up to help, but the Food Pantry clients missed David. They missed his gentle spirit, warm smile, and genuine concern. And so do I.

Then the King will say to those on his right,
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance,
the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…”

Matthew 25:34-35

Friday, November 10, 2023

Grow Up

Ephesians 4:11-15

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Church is not a spectator sport where a crowd of people desperately in need of exercise watch a few people desperately in need of rest. God's intention for His church was for all of us to work together to spread the gospel, instead of having a few hired guns do all the work. The pastor and staff are directed by God to recruit, train, and empower church members to do the work of ministry.

Service builds the church. It gives people purpose and fosters friendships. It helps people feel like they belong. Equally important, service builds the individual members of the church to be stronger Christians. “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Mature Christians have an unshakeable faith. The highest level of spiritual maturity is experienced when we become like Jesus in attitudes, perspectives, and actions. Most life's problems could be solved if people became more like Jesus. We need to grow up.

Truthful, loving communication is a key element to spiritual growth for individual Christians and the church. This is the opposite of the malicious gossip that can so easily infiltrate the ranks of “the body of Christ” and diminish it’s witness to the unchurched.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Unity is vital to the health of a church

Ephesians 4:1-6

The church is called to be unified in purpose and passion. Paul writes, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

We share the same faith, the same baptism, and the same God yet, disunity and division is common among our churches. When church members don’t work well together, the church is weak. Jesus said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24-25)

Furthermore, Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. The world will know if we are Christians or not by the way those who are believers act toward one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Considering this, Paul urges us “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1-2) 

Humility is the cornerstone of unity. It represents an attitude that recognizes the worth and value of other people. Pride, on the other hand, tends to create conflict. When we put others’ needs ahead of ours, we foster harmony.

Gentleness is another characteristic that promotes unity. Easily misunderstood as weakness, it embodies the quality of moderation. It manifests strength under control, enabling perseverance.

Patience is the third trait mentioned by Paul. The word used here is synonymous with longsuffering, which is showing patience despite difficulties, particularly those caused by other people. Without patience, no group can be at peace. 

To live a life worthy of our calling in Christ necessitates that we treat one another with humility, gentleness, and patience. That requires the effort of the entire body of Christ for “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it...” (1 Corinthians 12:26). This is why Paul wrote, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)