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Impact Through Service


St. Pete First’s new mission statement is “LOVE. ST. PETE.” It is based on Jesus’s words found in John 15:12: “Love one another as I have loved you.” What did Jesus mean by this command? Today, we tend to use the word “love” to describe the happy, positive, blissful thoughts we have towards something or someone. So, this command from Jesus might feel to us a little discouraging. As fallible people, we certainly do not always feel happy, positive thoughts about others, even towards fellow Christians. The thought that we are obligated to feel perfect, joyful affection towards others is daunting. However, this is not what Christ meant by this command.

Jesus is not telling His followers to “feel about other people the way I do.” Nor is He demanding we be sinlessly, infallibly perfect. Rather, our love needs to imitate the character of Christ’s love, which involved two main ideas. The “love” Jesus speaks of is practical, not emotional. We do not need to “feel warm thoughts” for others, but we do need to act lovingly towards them, even when they are hostile to us. In addition, we are meant to echo the nature of Christ’s love, which means humility, sacrifice, and service. One of the very best demonstrations of Christ’s love found in Scripture, besides His death on the cross, is Jesus washing the disciples’ feet during the Last Supper. He took the lowest of the lowest of the low position, He so humbled Himself, that He assumed the position of a servant, and He washed some dirty, smelly, gross feet the night before He died. How we ought to love another is by serving one another. That is exactly how Jesus demonstrated His love for us.

We as the church must echo the nature of Christ’s love, which means practicing humility, sacrifice, and service if we are going to accomplish Goal# 2: “Increase our impact in St. Petersburg through Christian service by reducing hunger, reducing illiteracy, and increasing community care.” Our Vision Team has been tasked with the “what,” but we need you, the church, to help us with the “how.” St. Petersburg First United Methodist Church: much is hanging in the balance. Let’s go wash some feet!

— Pastor Marge 


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