It is overwhelming, if we are honest, to properly steward the once-a-year opportunity that falls into our ministerial laps around this time of the year. As a student of the Word, one of my favorite practical commentaries is the “Be Series” written by Warren Wiersbe. What should we practically “be all about” during the Easter season? Too often we tend to approach this holy season the same way the world does. It concerns me greatly that many so-called Christians at worst skip church for an early, full vacation or at best go to church with eyes only for fresh pastel-tinted clothes, bunny-shaped candy, and updated family photos. At some point we must choose between the “spring-break-or-bust” attitude or “disciples-to-the-death-of-a-risen-Savior” activities.
What functionally should we “be” for our crucified, buried, and risen again Lord?
Here is a list of “be” priorities for every Christian for Easter:
- Be sacrificial.
Don’t cut corners on this “holiday”; go the extra mile in your areas of ministry. Help someone else in their area on a Sunday that often includes inflated numbers and a sense of being overwhelmed. Don’t have the union mentality. If it needs done, just be the doer. Reject the mantra “what ever will be will be.” Be a catalyst for change. Be a necessary, contributing part of the ministry this weekend. If you recognize that you are on the outside looking in, ask for a task, any task to have a part in building the kingdom of heaven. There are always last-minute tasks, gaps that need filled by someone. Anyone.
- Be relational.
Don’t become self-absorbed or isolated with your family. Instead serve others as a family. Commit to following up with those you invite and sit with them when they come. Learn the names of several new visitors and regulars alike. Come to church with a plan to be a blessing to someone ELSE. Take them to lunch. Have them over to your home. Bring them a gift. Write them a sincere thoughtful card. I think you get the idea.
- Be prepared.
Start several days in advance. Get yourself and your family in bed a little earlier than normal. Do an extra rehearsal on your lesson, your music, your sermon. Make a list of what you must accomplish on this sacred day for the Lord and others. Prepare your own clothes, food, car, schedule well in advance to free up your mind and heart to focus on local church ministry. The little secret of ministry is the more you invest up front leads to more you can invest during and reap afterwards to the glory of God. Procrastination and productivity are never found together!
- Be worshiping.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that ultimately who you are “being” is for an audience of One, the Lord. Come to church prepared to sing before Him at the top of your lungs. Let your worship leader know that you are “with” him. Verbalize to the musicians that you are praying for and pulling for them. Smile. Laugh. Listen. Show your appreciation with clapping, “amen,” or however your church does that kind of thing. Be fully at there! Encourage others by your example to be the same.
- Be prayerful.
Prayer must be prominently featured in your Easter weekend. Remember that Christ prayed for you. Before the cross. On the cross. After the cross. He is now ascended to continue to prayerfully intercede for us. The realities of the resurrection are closely aligned with our opportunity to pray to God Himself. Spend time with the Lord in closet prayer. Spend time with your family and friends in prayer. Pray for the lost who are coming. Pray for the disconnected believer who is returning. Pray for those in the music ministry. Pray for your pastor who burdened about this annually limited responsibility to preach to many souls in your community. Pray for the nursery workers. Pray, pray, pray.
- Be sensitive.
I have celebrated over 30 Easters that I can remember. If I am not careful “familiarity can breed contempt.” I would remind you that really Christ wants us to celebrate His resurrection not once a year but once a week-every Sunday. Therefore, we have no excuse to ho-hum our way through another one. We should be moved deeply by the highs and lows of the passion week. Both our minds and hearts should be deeply stirred again THIS Easter. Tears are okay. Of sorrow. Of joy.
- Be grateful.
Do we really need the reminder to be grateful for what Christ has done for us? I remind you of one the most precious verses in Scripture: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II CO. 5:21). He was made to be sin for us; the least we can do is be thankful. Don’t take for granted what the resurrection of Christ has secured for us, every person in our church…and every person not in our church!
- Be faithful.
One of the most important contributions you can make is to be dependably in your place. Early. Ready. This would include coming early to church to fill the lobby, greet visitors, help with any last-minute needs. It also means you are sitting/standing in your place 5 minutes before the service starts and have your Bible, your pen, your bulletin, and those under your influence doing the same! Don’t force your church leadership to “sing them in.”
- Be testifying.
Look for an opportunity or two that are divine appointments to share what a resurrected Jesus means to you. Don’t be pushy, but be assertive. Let the life of Christ “be” seen in you and through you. Let your face, your feet, your hands know that you are thrilled to know, as the song says, “He lives within my heart.” Can your church get a witness from you this weekend? Are you ready to answer. To shout. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
- Be hopeful.
This would be number one on my list as our theme this year at North Pointe is “Hope is Here.” If there is anywhere people should be able to come and find hope this spring, it should be your church! Genuinely move the corners of your mouth upward…a lot. Demonstrate with even your body language that the answer to “Can God?” is “God can!” Others should sense that we truly believe there is hope for every life no matter how desperate or dysfunctional. Shake people’s hands. Look into their eyes. Let them see the bright potential that God sees in them. Yes they need confronted regarding sin, but they don’t need judged or condemned. Even the presentation of the cross and their need should only be motivated by our hope and belief they can be saved. Because Christ in not there in the grave, He can be here with life-transforming hope.
Easter is not about what we can get for ourselves in the form of a “well-deserved break” or that “once-a-year-new-outfit.” We already have everything we need to FILL US because of the EMPTY GRAVE!
II Co. 2:14-17 “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
As others come to your local church this coming weekend, who will they-those spiritually dead or alive-find you being? What about when God arrives in the Person of the Holy Spirit as we gather in His Risen Son’s name? Will we fully “be” alive in a way that places the spotlight squarely and exclusively upon who we know Him to BE?