A Masterpiece

One of my favourite verses has always been Ephesians 2:10.

“For you are God’s masterpiece, created through Christ Jesus to do the tasks He has prepared in advance for you to do”

Ephesians 2:10

My nursing career has taken me to all corners of the world and I have loved growing in this ministry.

Have you ever stopped to consider being a masterpiece? A masterpiece is a result of great skill, artistry and workmanship. It brings the sense of time taken for precision, careful and considered additions as time has elapsed. There is never a rush or urgency about a masterpiece but rather the finished outcome known to be well worth the time, effort and care poured gently into it.

Surely Leonardo da Vinci did whip through painting the Mona Lisa in a casual afternoon, nor The Starry Night rushed together by Vincent van Gogh before dinner.

A masterpiece is surely the result of a dynamic relationship between the creator and the created. There would have been considered time where da Vinci and van Gough stepped back, stepped forward, moved perspective, changed dimension and dabbled the exact colour on the brushes in order to create the most wonderful possibility on the canvas.

How much more does God pour into us as His masterpiece? I delight in the dynamic relationship between myself, my ever changing circumstances, my growing faith and God, my creator. Here at AFCNA our mission is to provide holistic nursing services to faith community and those around it serves and aims to prepare people to bring effective, compassionate care to the most vulnerable in our community.

I have loved nursing in several fields. After many years in Sydney hospitals and working in highly technical healthcare, the last 10 years of my career have leant towards rural and remote primary health care in PNG on medical ships and more recently international disaster response.

Looking back, I can see now how my career opportunities have all built on the previous experiences to give me better capacity to care for those in front of me with clinical confidence, calm direction and compassionate heart. My Creator has surely taken time to teach me broadly and craft my opportunities, to become closer and closer to the masterpiece He has intended for me to be in His world.

As we reflect, where is God taking you? What has He invited you into and what is important to you at the moment. May I encourage you to remember you are God’s masterpiece.

He is an active and dynamic Creator. He has nor finished with either you or me, and the possibilities are quite wonderful yet.

May we ponder on how we are bringing our faith to work, how we interact with those around us and how we can partner deeper with God to bring about on earth as it is in Heaven.

Gabi Macaulay
Chairperson AFCNA

Read examples of Gabi’s Faith in action

God-given nursing opportunities in the midst of disaster

God is at work in the dark places

Jesus – ‘Light of the world’ transforms lives

Easter is the celebration of how Jesus Christ overcame sin and spiritual darkness and death, changing our lives now and for eternity, by enabling us to live in the light and freedom of God’s love.

In many Christian traditions there is an Easter vigil service which usually begins outside in darkness at sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Sunday outside the church. A fire is started and blessed, and from it is lit a large candle, called the ‘Paschal candle’. The people follow the paschal candle into the church, each holding a small unlit candle of their own. One by one each person lights their candle in the flame of the ‘Paschal candle’. The darkness is overwhelmed by the ever-increasing light that culminates in the lights of the church being turned on and brightness floods the auditorium.

As the darkness is transformed one light at a time, so lives are transformed by God’s light penetrating one life at a time. This beautiful visual metaphor shows us that we can transform our community, by starting with one life at a time. As each one of us goes into our community caring and sharing the healing love of Jesus in word and deed, we change lives!

The power of compassionate care can transform individuals, families, and whole communities, and even entire nations, because just as darkness can only be transformed by light, lives can be changed by experiencing the light of God’s love. This happens when each follower of Jesus Christ demonstrates that they care for people.

How can you be God’s shining light in your sphere of influence as your act of worship to Jesus Christ? How can you encourage someone to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’? How can you show the ‘bright side’ to a difficult situation? It may require giving yourself without expectation of any return. It may involve going out of your way to support another person, or journeying the extra mile with someone, showing an attitude of grace, gratitude, forgiveness, humility, service, love.  It is not possible to sustain loving actions in your own strength, but it is possible with the empowerment of the Spirit of God who leads, guides, equips and enables you to show God’s love and show the ‘fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (Galatians 5:22).

Why not light a small ‘Paschal candle’ yourself and place it where you can see it every day, as a reminder that God is your light and your salvation. It is because of Easter and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection that light came into our world and into our lives. Let your light shine and provide light and life to others so we can influence our community and transform lives, one at a time.

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

(John 1: 4-5).

God is LORD of the Harvest

In Scripture we see that the whole harvest belongs to the LORD. He graciously nourishes and provides us with the fruits of His harvest and He expects us to bless others with His harvest fruits.

We experience the blessing and nurture of the LORD’s harvest via His gifts, such as food, water, the natural creation, shelter, employment, income, love of family, friends and church family, acquisition of education to live and grow our knowledge and skills… His harvest provides all of the things we need to live an abundant life and thrive, experiencing harvest contentment and whole health. His blessings fill us physically, mentally, spiritually, and relationally and enable us to live in the experience of HARVEST! Doesn’t it fill your life with gratitude and praise for our LORD, the LORD of the harvest?

When we recognise that God is the LORD of the harvest, it must surely alter the way we live our lives and direct the way we use and SHARE His harvest fruits, given to us so we can thrive and bless others. Our gifts of a home, food, money, knowledge, skills, employment, friendships, relationships and the whole health we experience in family and community are gifted to us to steward and share with other people and BLESS our world.

God is LORD of your harvest and the whole harvest belongs to Him. How can you bless the world with your time, talent, knowledge, friendship, your home, food and money? It is a question we must all take time to ponder, because we don’t have to look far to see injustice, poverty, starvation, sickness, war and distress… and we have been given the harvest fruits to bless others so they can experience God’s love.

The SARS Covid BA.2 sub-variant is spreading across our continent with stealth,[1] creating health and wellbeing problems for many people and significant challenges for our health and community care systems. Many churches are experiencing reduced attendances in worship services and a reduction in community activities.[2] The rapid increase in inflation is placing pressure on household incomes and consequently the income of charities, community services and faith communities. Community groups report a reduction in volunteering and many churches are also dealing with this sad trend.[3] We are surrounded by stressful situations, environmental catastrophes, violence, conflict and war across the world. It can lead us to feel tired and defeated, but we are not powerless in the face of all of this trouble. We need to remember God is LORD of the harvest and He will provide.

We must continue to focus on blessing others with God’s harvest fruits/seeds that demonstrate His love. We are God’s body, His hands and feet, head and heart…  to lavishly sow His love into the lives of all. God is responsible for the growth of the seeds we sow, which in His time will produce a harvest.

God calls and sends out the harvest workers, but we are to earnestly ask God to send out the workers to reap His harvest (Matthew 9:38). God’s harvest fields across the globe are full of people looking for help, hope and whole health. In John 4:35b Jesus tells His disciples “…I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest!” The question we need to answer for ourselves is ‘How and where is the Lord calling me to be his harvest worker?’

Dr Anne van Loon, Chairperson AFCNA

[1] Truu,M. 2022, ‘With the new BA.2 COVID sub-variant spreading rapidly, what will Australia’s colder months look like?’, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-15/ba-2-influenza-what-will-winter-be-like-in-australia/100903052

[2] Wang, W., & Elhage A 2022, ‘Here’s Who Stopped Going to Church During the Pandemic’, Christianity Today, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/january-web-only/attendance-decline-covid-pandemic-church.html

[3]  Pillay, J., 2020, ‘COVID-19 Shows the Need to Make Church More Flexible’, Transformation 2020, Vol. 37(4) 266 –275, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0265378820963156