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Maybe Next Year

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The Feast of Tabernacles is probably the most anticipated event of the year for members of the Church. It also requires the most amount of planning and preparation, which adds to the anticipation. In addition to saving our second tithe all year as God commands us to do, we also decide which site to attend, how we will get there, where we will stay and what we will do.

In the midst of all your personal planning, have you ever paused to consider that right now, at this very minute as you are reading this article, somewhere a man we call the Festival Coordinator has much more on his mind than just his family? He’s also thinking about you.

He is trying to figure out how to configure the meeting rooms to accommodate all the people, how many chairs are needed, how large of a stage, how many ushers will be needed, who can run the sound system or help park cars. He needs to arrange for a mother’s room, anointing room and Bible study spaces. The list of things he is working on to make sure that you have an enjoyable Festival experience is quite long. In some cases, he began working on it just after the Feast of Tabernacles ended last year.

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ over the earth after His second coming. All of the saints will reign with Him, so it seems it would be important that we consider how we might reign with Jesus Christ!

Who is Jesus looking for to reign with Him? What qualities and skills?

On the evening of Passover, just before Jesus would be crucified, a dispute arose among His disciples over who would be greatest in the Kingdom of God. It’s not only troubling to think that this is what was on the disciples’ minds just before Jesus was to be betrayed and crucified, but it’s also troubling to think that He had just washed their feet and instructed them to be humble servants. It seems they didn’t fully understand His teaching. So, Jesus’ reply to them was, “For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27).

The example Jesus set for His disciples and us is to be a servant. When was the last time you served at the Feast of Tabernacles? The Festival pictures the time when we will be serving with Jesus Christ. If we won’t serve now, why would God think we would serve after Christ returns?

Now I know that we all have to be balanced. We don’t want people to serve so much that they don’t balance out their time to be with family and fellowship with other brethren. The best way to accomplish this is for as many people to volunteer as possible so the workload can be widely distributed. Many hands make light work, as the saying goes.

I also know that we are all at different stages of life. If you are single, or an adult with grown children, you will have more time than parents with small children. Some years you won’t be able to serve and that’s perfectly understandable. I’ve been in those stages myself.

The reason we should look for opportunities to serve, if we are able, is expressed well by the apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). The Feast of Tabernacles is the perfect opportunity to look out for the interests of others!

What is holding you back from serving?

Sometimes people don’t serve because they want the Feast to be a vacation from any type of responsibilities. But there are other reasons that hold people back. Sometimes people are nervous about serving at something they have never done before. Guess what? That means after you serve, you will have learned something new!

Maybe you’re not sure what to sign up for or what department needs help. That’s an easy problem to remedy. When you register, simply select all of the departments for which you are willing to serve and the Festival Coordinator will assign you to the area that has the greatest need.

Also, please know that it would help a great deal if you register for the Feast as early as you can and select where you are willing to serve at the same time. Sometimes the Festival Coordinator is stressing because he only has a limited number of registered people willing to serve. Other times, after he has selected each department head and has all the manpower lists created, people show up at the Feast site and want to help. This can be confusing and disruptive, since all the planning is done, lists are made and manpower schedules have been distributed.

The Festival Coordinator has a great deal of planning that needs to be completed weeks and months in advance of arriving at the Festival location. You can be a great help to the brethren you will be serving and also to the Festival Coordinator who is working hard to put all the pieces together. It really is a team effort, so why not join the team!

Before you think, “maybe next year,” why not make this the year that you serve!