Is It Worth It?
May 25, 2023 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Deep Thoughts

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Stone plaque with text

What’s the one connection I can make between the fight for Hawaiian Independence, Pearl Harbor, Memorial Day, Graduation Sunday Lunch Celebration, Vacation Bible School, and why I believe you should still make worship, giving, serving, and Sunday school/small group a priority over the summer?

One statement: “Is it worth it?”

Queen Lili’uokalani had to ask this when faced by a conglomerate of American businessmen seeking to quietly overthrow her to better further their business interests in Hawaii. There’s no doubting that Hawaii’s economic situation had the potential for even massive growth with even deeper ties to America, but as the Queen resisted her eventual demise in 1890 she had to ask, “Is it worth it?” She knew the history of disease that had been brought by European travelers and how a once thriving, incredibly literate kingdom of over 300,000 Hawaiians had been reduced because of this, and even though she whole-heartedly endorsed the Christian values brought by said Europeans, she saw the writing on the wall that that the Hawaiian culture could quickly be erased if she didn’t fight to preserve it. For all those who have experienced the “aloha spirit” of the Hawaiian people, would you say it was “worth it?”

At Pearl Harbor there were many strong emotions as I’m still young enough to have grandparents that fought in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, as well as a grandparent-in-law that was a Navy Diver who had the task of recovering bodies from the USS Utah, USS Oklahoma, and USS Arizona. With Memorial Day around the corner it was emotional to read the names of those who sacrificed their lives in both that surprise attack as well as later in intentional warfare to preserve the lives of those who were being persecuted and preserve a sliver of the world not run by totalitarian regimes. As we saw family descendants of those who passed and current military personnel tossing flowers in the water, we have to ask, “was it worth it?”

This past Sunday, we celebrated the hard work of the Class of 2023 in worship by participating in the celebratory effort put forth by the Lay Discipleship Team and those who supported them with food and monetary donations. I got texts from the parents of graduates who talked about how special it felt, on top of church members who just really loved celebrating something in the midst of still raw feelings around gun violence in our community. The most common phrase I heard during the lunch, as I worked around the hallway, patio, and Room 110 was, “It was so good to meet you,” meaning the unity and deep roots we aspire to as a church were coming to fruition. It certainly was some extra time and planning. “Was it worth it?”

Which brings me to the future.

In two weeks we will have a host of children dropped by their parents with both parties trusting and hoping that they will have a great time, form meaningful connections with God and other people, and leave empowered to be better people for Christ in the world. It takes a ton of effort, many volunteers, and some financial investment.

Is it worth it?

We also have students and children each and every week during the summer continuing to seek, experience, and understand the love and ways of Christ in Sunday school. This also means people giving up their own small group time, staying a little later, coming a little earlier, and giving up an hour at the lake for a higher purpose and long-lasting effect on spiritual, mental, and emotional health.

Is it worth it?

The common thread here is sacrifice. Certainly, the level of sacrifice given to teach Sunday school, introduce yourself to a new person at lunch, or worship God is different then giving your life or kingdom, but the principle from scripture still stands on any part of the sliding scale: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NRSV)

And here’s what I’ve learned from anyone who has given their life, time, dedication, devotion, or money to something greater than themselves, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NRSV)

Summer is a great time to explore, relax, and enjoy. But our lives are infinitely more blessed when we are contributing to something meaningful and bigger than us. Even our strongest “feel good” hormones support this. Let me encourage you to reach out to Pastor Keri Lynn about teaching Children’s Sunday school this summer or helping with VBS. Let me encourage you to still GIVE your time to worship a God who has blessed you with the ability to enjoy life in the first place.

School may stop for the summer, and so many some other activities. But ministry keeps going as long as there is a need, and needs are only met by people who give. Let me ask you again?

Is it worth it?


David Lessner

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