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Preparing the Altar

Read Matthew 25:14-30

"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going into another country, who called together his servants and loaned them money to invest for him while he was gone." Matthew 25:14 (TLB)

God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God's many kinds of blessings. 1 Peter 4:10 (TLB)

Stanley Hartness lives in Mississippi. For several years it has been his responsibility and joy to prepare his church's altar for the Sunday morning worship service. Rather than use traditional floral arrangements, Stanley draws inspiration from the lectionary and sermon topic for the coming Sunday. Through prayer and the Holy Spirit, he transforms the altar into a visual expression of scripture and the pastor's message. On several occasions he has been frustrated when he had to start over because his original plan did not work out. But the final offering has always been meaningful and appreciated by the congregation.

Preparing the altar each Sunday has blessed Stanley in many ways: scriptures have taken on new meaning, sermons have come alive, and he has developed a keener appreciation for common objects that can be transformed into meaningful symbols. His hope is always that the altar will add yet another layer of meaning to the worship experience. For a long time Stanley didn't know how to respond when people commented on the altar presentation, but now he tells them it's the ministry that God has granted him. He has been the beneficiary of true blessings while serving in this capacity.

Prayer: Generous God, help us to discover and use the special gifts you have given us, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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