I’ve been writing over the past month and a half on the priorities of the Heartland Vineyard.  These priorities define the nature of a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ.  Our mission as a church is to equip and army of fully devoted disciples who extend the Kingdom of God as they experience and express the compassion and truth of the Lord Jesus.  So it is vitally important for us to understand what a fully devoted disciple looks like, or should I say, acts like.
We’ve been using the “hand” metaphor to help illustrate what our priorities are in the discipleship making process.  Each finger represents a priority.  I have described the pointer finger, the finger that when held up says, “Number one”.  Our number one priority is worship.  We want to be sincere, intimate and enthusiastic in our worship to God.  I love to worship at the Heartland Vineyard because there is a freedom that allows us to release expression of love to our great Father in heaven.
The middle finger, the longest on the hand represents outreach.  As a disciple, we are to care for our neighbors.  And as we reach out, it is to driven with compassion.  Compassion driven outreach is a powerful commodity that helps people find their way into the Kingdom of God.
The ring finger, the finger I wear my wedding ring on represents hands on, Spirit led ministry.  The “love finger” as it’s called by many is something that we in the Vineyard teach, model and equip our members to do.  When we come across a person who is sick emotionally, physically or spiritually, we ask permission to place our hands on their shoulder, invite the Holy Spirit to come on them and pray prayers of freedom and release.  This is exemplified by the ministry of Jesus.  Jesus touched people everywhere he went.  From babies to the elderly, from cripples to the blind, he touched them.  Even lepers who the Law made untouchable, Jesus touched them and brought healing in their lives.  In Mark’s gospel, Jesus says, “You’ll lay hands on the sick and they will recover”.
The little finger is the smallest finger on your hand and can fit into your ear.  I say this because the little finger in our hand metaphor represents grace filled obedience to the Word of God.  The Word of God is to go into our ear and then, as James encourages, we are to be faithful doer and not just hearers of the Word of God.  We obey, not out of sense of fear of punishment that comes in disobedience.  We obey because grace fills our hearts and there is a “want to” to follow the Lord’s commands.  Grace filled obedience in the way we care for our families, conduct our lives in our work places, live life in friendships and manage our finances is a privilege for each and every follower of Jesus.  We open our lives to God and allow him to lead us in our sexuality, our marriages, our child rearing and every other aspect of our lives.  And we do it all, not because we have to but because Jesus loves us more than we can imagine and his best is our best.  Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher of the 19th century said, “When I though God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I beat my breast to think I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so and sought my good.”
The thumb represents a loving, enabling, carefrontational relationship with other believers.  The greatest danger for a Christian is to live life disconnected from other believers. We are made to live in community.  Common unity is necessary for our growth and development as followers of Jesus.  
Finally, the last aspect of this metaphor of the hand is the palm.  There are lines in the palm of our hand and they are often called “heart lines”.  The heart, that is to say the nature of every devoted follower of Jesus is to live with the heart of a servant.  The Bible is filled with admonitions to serve one another.  Paul says in Philippians 2 that we are to consider others more important than ourselves.  To live this way, we must look at our King.  Jesus said, “I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life a ransom for many.”
Jesus is a servant King.  He served the multitudes with food and teaching.  He served the sick by offering them healing.  He served the blind and lame with miraculous works.  And then, in the last hours before he was crucified, he serves his disciples by washing their feet.  This humble act threw a few of his followers into a frenzy of confusion.  But Jesus was clear.  He came to serve them and then commissions them to go out and do the same for others.
In the beginning phases of our church, when we had not more than 20 people, we would carefully look for the people who would help us set up chairs, greet the people attending our meetings, stay after the meeting to help us clean up.  Those that became leaders in our church were not the most outwardly gifted or anointed people.  They were the people who had it in their heart of serve.  And so, as we learned to serve each other, it was not a huge leap to go into our community and serve the poor of our city and to provide clothes those that didn’t have enough.
I believe the strength of a church is not seen in the number of anointed teachers, powerful prophets, potent healers or influential preachers.  I believe the church is strongest when it is filled with people willing to serve.  
Being a follower of Jesus isn’t rocket science.  If you want to be great in the Kingdom, become a servant of all.