The following post was originally written for the August 2, 2017 Pastor’s Corner article in the Leoti Standard paper in Wichita County, Kansas.
Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
“This is the best week to live in Wichita County.” I must have said that a handful of times last week as the population of our town swelled during the Wichita County Fair. The four days of the fair are truly wonderful. In these four days we host thousands of visitors. Family, friends, classmates, and even total strangers from across our region come to visit us.
The fair does not magically occur. When I moved here I was impressed by the quality of the carnival, parade, food, rodeo, and all that happens during the fair. It was not until the next year when I volunteered throughout the fair that I realized how much work, sacrifice, and time it takes. 25 cents is not nearly what the real cost is for each ride.
Why do we put so much into the fair? Why dedicate so much work for four days? We want to make Wichita County shine for all to see. We want to show our very best. We want to have pride in our community so we show it in its best form. While there are many wonderful moments throughout the year to live here, those four days are the best for someone to see how great Wichita County can be.
The church is much the same. All of our churches require much sacrifice, work, and time to operate. We need the support of our community and members. For 52 Sunday mornings a year we worship together as congregations. We gather so we can give God the glory.
Yet there are 313 other days in the year. Monday-Saturday is not a vacation from our faith. Christians do not take a day off from their commitment to Christ. We work every day to share Christ with others. A worship service may be a weekly event, yet it is the start of our week. We come to worship so we can commit to spending our entire week (and lives) in service to Christ.
Each day is a decision. We make commitments all the time. It is the decisions we make with our days that determine how we will follow through on those commitments. To be the church we must decide each day to follow Jesus. This is not a once a week event. This is daily picking up the cross to follow Jesus.
We live not for our glory but for God’s. He is the one who gave us life, forgave our sin, and has been forever faithful and loving toward us. He deserves our praise. God gets the credit. Jesus died on the cross for us so we may have a way to salvation and eternal life.
Much of life comes down to priorities. In Wichita County the annual fair has become a priority. It has evolved into an amazing community work that produces awesome results. There is nothing like it in our area. I would suggest we have one of the best county fairs in the entire country. If the fair was not a priority in our county and those who serve to put it on did not care about the quality of the fair then it would not be as wonderful as it is.
Our faith works the same way. If we make our faith a priority then we can, together, make the church in Wichita County shine to the world so that all may see Christ through us. On Sunday we had 220 people attend our second annual Community Worship Service following the fair. On that day our common faith in Christ shone for others to see. Sunday mornings are wonderful as the people of God gather to give God the glory.
The important work is what we do with the other 6 days of this week. Will you make your faith a priority? That means more than showing up to church on Sunday morning. It means reading your Bible, studying it with other Christians, inviting your neighbor to worship, praying every day, serving the world through your faith, and much more. Only if we make faith a priority will we be able to see the kingdom of God grow in Wichita County and our personal faith grow in each of us. I know our community can do amazing work when we gather for one purpose to serve others. The fair is a fine example.
Let us gather together as Christians and to show Christ to the world so that God may get all the glory! Let God have his way in our lives so that we may be his hands and feet. We will be amazed at what God will do! Not only will our churches grow, but God will move in wonderful and mighty ways in our community.
On Sunday let us all go to worship God! Go to worship in your congregation. If you do not have a church home I hope you will join us this Sunday at Leoti UMC, 111 S. Wyoming, at 10:45 for our worship service. Together we can give God the glory!