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  • Pastor Ralph

Filling the Gaps

When it came time to get my driver’s licence, I didn’t have to beg and plead or twist my parents' arms to get them to allow me to apply for my licence. My Dad came to me and said, “Ralph I need you to get your licence and I need you to get it now. I need your help.” So off I went - fortunately got my licence and the rest is history! I have been driving now for 51 years and God has graciously had His hand on me.

By me getting my licence, it allowed my Dad the freedom to stay at his office Saturday mornings and not having the responsibility of shuttling my Mom and brother around while trying to run a business. So every Saturday, I got up, dropped my Mom off on Front Street in downtown Belleville at Loblaw’s to get her groceries (my Mom did not drive!!!) and then took my brother up to the YMCA. I waited for my brother, got him back on board, then went back downtown to get my Mom. We had our little system down like clockwork. I carried the groceries in and we sat down to lunch: delicious hot dogs. Every Saturday was the same – we had a happy little schedule and I look back today with such good memories. Those were literally “Happy Days!”

When I look back on that time period, by me gaining my licence I was able to “fill in a gap” in my Dad’s life, my brother’s life and my Mom’s life. It enabled our family to be stronger in many ways and to run smoother with less stress. Nothing complicated. I gladly stepped up and helped because I loved them and I saw it as fun. I felt good helping. Was I a super driver or a scheduling specialist or whatever – NO! I was just a simple kid willing to give of my time and whatever abilities I had to help.

To me this is the strength of the Small Membership Church. We are like a family, willing to assist one another with the abilities and resources we have. After all, when we stop and think about it, they are not ours, but gifts loaned to us by God Himself. The apostle Paul reminds us, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 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. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it… So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 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. 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. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Those words jump out “as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:1-7 & 11-16 NIV).

As each part does its work, we glorify God; we bear fruit; we encourage one another and we display the true agape love of Jesus. And once in a while, we get to eat hot dogs together (LOL). In little churches, sometimes folks get off track and think about things they cannot do, as portrayed in the cultural world of programs or large churches, instead of focusing and celebrating the many, many things we excel at and do well. So “as each part does its work”, let us move forward for Christ and look towards the ministry He calls us to do.

“Want the best – give the best!” We are not offering Christ perfection but a willing heart, dedicated to Him and one another. We simply, in love, offer the best we have.

God bless you as we each “fill the gaps in our church and the lives of each other!”

Have a great week – Love Pastor Ralph

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