On Being a Priest

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Lesli NolenBy Lesli Nolen

Published May 2011

Recently I had the privilege of giving a speech on the topic of Priesthood. The Priesthood I’m talking about isn’t the kind that requires you to go to seminary school. You don’t have to have a degree to act as a priest to someone. I’m talking about a way of life. The way we are represents God to other people. A priest is considered to be anyone who has experienced love, acceptance and forgiveness of God—someone who helps others experience that grace as well. What I discovered was that we are all called to be priest and can be priest.

In our world today, more and more people seem to worship anything and everything except God. They worship money, power, drugs, gadgets; you can fill in the blank with whatever it is that separates you from God. Our world is living apart from God and is quite ugly and discouraging. And it seems like we only call on God when we are in need. And today we are definitely in need!
As I write this article there are numerous wildfires burning in and around San Angelo, Texas, as well as all across the state of Texas. Here locally, the wildfires continue to burn and burn. And the hot, dry weather is not helping either. The firefighters and volunteers are asking for our help. The local radio stations, the TV news stations and the Internet’s social networking sites are all publicizing the need for water, food, baby wipes, eye drops and money for tires, fuel and transportation of water. Basically anything you can give to help them out in this time of need will be greatly appreciated.

As we went to drop our items off, you could tell the city of San Angelo has responded in a big way.
While Skylar and I were taking our supplies, water and cash to one of the local radio stations here in town, there were people driving up the same time we were, others were driving away and some were waiting to drop off. The vehicle that was being used to take items out to the firemen was fully loaded. And this was only one of the many drops off locations. People, you are acting as a priest! You came to the aid of someone in need. A priest’s mission is to share love, acceptance and forgiveness with other people. You are doing just that. You are showing love!

Not only did many, many people take supplies to the drop off locations, but others served in a different way. The San Angelo Stock Show Association opened up the fairgrounds to house livestock away from the burning pastures. The Humane Society reached out and opened their doors to the animals of those being evacuated. The Foster Communication Coliseum served as housing for those who needed shelter. The citizens opened their wallets, their homes and their hearts for others when they needed it the most.

Matthew 25:35 says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Any one of you that has helped out or donated items during this time of need was acting as a priest. You took on the role of the church. The church, is not the building or the walls; it is using your hands and feet for Christ. You are being a representative of God to others.

You helped to reflect light in the midst of darkness, as 1 Peter 2:9 talks about. By donation of items you are being that light for the firemen and volunteers. You are showing that you appreciate all they do and you support them in their efforts in their time of need. Praying for rain, protection and understanding—these are all acts of kindness. They are all characteristics of being a priest.

Do you think the firefighters have felt your love, your prayers? Do you think they know you are giving your best to them when they see truck after truck showing up out there with water, food, money and supplies? Do you think they have felt your grace, your grace of generosity? I do!
Being a priest is showing love to one another. God doesn’t call just the preachers of the world to be priest. He calls and equips each and every one of us to be priest. God uses us, the body of Christ and the believers of Christ to represent him on Earth.  It’s not only our job, but it’s our responsibility to be priest to one another.

I pray that by the time this is printed and you are reading this, rain has poured down upon our land. I also pray that just because the crisis is over, you don’t stop acting as a priest. Each new day is a new opportunity to show our love for one another. To those drowning in difficulty the touch of a hand, a listening ear or even just a smile can bring a little light to their darkness.

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