This Sunday is Easter Sunday!!! It is a day where we get to celebrate that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose to give us new life. It is a day of celebration and joy for all believers.
That said, I have come to realize that we are growing more and more selfish in the way we celebrate it. This is what I mean. Easter is becoming more and more about our personal experience than it is about the NEWS that Jesus Christ died and came alive to give life to men like me. Easter has become an event to enjoy. Easter has become a production that churches put together to give their members the best experience all year long.
But… Easter, for the Christian, should not be about you. Think about Jesus’s words for a minute. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” At Easter we look to Jesus Christ, who willingly endured the pain of torture and crucifixion in order that men might gain the grace and mercy of God. We are called to do the same. Now, I don’t mean we are literally called to get scourged and walk with a cross to church this coming Sunday. The greatest way to celebrate Easter for the Christian is to sacrifice yourself so that others can trust Jesus.
This coming Easter here a few simple sacrifices to help others trust Jesus.
- Invite someone. Though this should seem obvious, many of us are far more worried about the clothes we wear than the people we invite. Today will you call a few friends and invite them to join you at church?
- Give up your seat. If you are a regular in church, you probably have “your seat.” We know you do, because the imprint of your behind is there. Easter is a day when many guests come through our door. Let somebody else sit where your imprint is and find a new seat. At FBC Vidalia, sit on the sides of the worship center that are the last to fill up, or if we reach max capacity, sit in the overflow room.
- Go to the early service. For every person who goes to the early service, a seat opens for the second service. I know 8:00 am is early. It is a gift you can give to a guest whose big step is to make it for the 10:30 am service.
- Introduce yourself, have a conversation. Many of our new guests might be nervous about attending this Sunday. One the hardest parts of attending church is the 15 minutes or so before the service starts. Go out of your way to introduce yourself to a guest (or even a member you have not met yet). Get to know them. Help them feel at ease in our church.
- Serve in the non glamorous places. Perhaps the most difficult volunteer to find on Easter Sunday is parking lot help and nursery volunteers. Everyone wants to be in big church on Easter. This week we will have more cars and kids than at any other week of the year. Sacrificing yourself means serving the kids of our guests. It means giving up your experience so others can hear the gospel.
- Park in the back of the parking lot. With our parking lot possibly full this week, we want our guests to have the good spots. That means guests should get the spots by our nursery and also the spots near the entrance to the worship center. FBCV regulars, park in the back. It is a kind gesture to love our community.
- Tip well. Many people eat out after church on Easter but not everyone. If you are going out to eat on Easter Sunday, please tip well. Your church clothes let your servers know you are Christians. These servers are giving up their holiday to take care of you. Please give your testimony not only with your words but with your actions and pocketbook.
- Be family. Many in our church are new widows/widowers this year. We also have many single moms and out of town families. Would you consider inviting someone who may not have family close by to be family with you this Easter? Invite them to spend the day with you.
This year, we all can go through the motions and have a wonderfully meaningful Easter. The music will be great, and I hope the gospel is clear when I preach. My hope, though, is that you have more than a good experience. I hope you will join me in participating in Easter. Can you imagine if your family and friends came to trust Jesus this Easter because you invited them to come with you? Imagine if a young family trusted Jesus because they got your primo parking spot and seat in the worship center? By the way, their 2 year old might not be distracting them if you are also serving in the nursery.
Make this Easter one that is greater than an experience. Join Jesus in making Easter a day where you sacrifice so that many can know Him.