Step Up & Serve

I was once invited to preach in a church on the Sunday the church honored the women in the congregation. When I arrived, I was given a beautiful corsage. After the service, I was presented with a dozen red roses & then escorted o the Fellowship Hall for a luncheon prepared by the women. The members of the committee in charge took me over to the buffet line, pointing out all the delicious food. When I go to the end of the table, I reached for a plate, eager to enjoy all that food. “No, no, Pastor,” one of the women told me, ” we’ll fix a plate for you!” She then called someone over, telling her to “fix Pastor a plate!” The woman was tickled pink to have the honor of preparing my lunch for me.

I was then escorted to a table & as I waited for my food, every woman I. The church came over to have her photo taken with me! Lunch was delicious & when I finished my main meal, another woman was called over & asked to bring me dessert. My coffee cup was never empty & I thought I would have to be ROLLED out of the hall after lunch. On my way home in the car, I remember thinking I could easily get used to that treatment! Perhaps I needed to rethink my Call (or lack of one) to pastor a church!

Pastors work hard & preaching takes a lot out of you. I think it’s great when church members take care of their pastor, doing things for her. The shepherd needs tending too! However, as I learned in the story above, pampering & attention can become addictive. It can be easy to come to expect special treatment as a pastor, something we must try hard to avoid.

Look again, or perhaps for a first time, at the verse in the graphic above. I love the statement Jesus made. “I, the Son of Man, the Son of God, did NOT come to be served but to serve.” The Lord wanted to make it clear that even HE didn’t expect special treatment. HE didn’t want people waiting on Him, doing favors for Him. NO! Instead, He came to serve others.

This was such a radical idea! First, that someone like Jesus was willing to serve others. The Temple priests sure didn’t spend their time serving others. They wanted to be served. Plus, this was a society where WOMEN served others, ┬ánot men. Finally, this wasn’t a society where people took care of one another. They might help out their family & a neighbor occasionally but the thought of ongoing service to others in the community was unheard of! Yet Jesus was saying that this was exactly why He came. To serve others.

Jesus set an example that continued in the early church & through the years to today. Unfortunately, we, as Christians have lost our dedication to service, our passion to help others. We may do it as the fancy strikes, at Christmas for example but many of us have gotten comfortable letting someone else take care of it. For many of us, we just don’t know how we can help, where to begin, how to serve.

In 2017, I want to help you understand our need, our innate need as Christians, to serve one another as Christ served & still serves us. I plan to help you identify the gifts & talents you have to offer, help you develop them & discover ways you can use those abilities to serve the church & community. Jesus told us the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Let’s all work together to serve one another, to serve everyone as Jesus serves us. It is the least, the very least we can do.

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A Little More Action, Please!

In my previous post, I talked about Jesus focusing on His ministry & the work His Father wanted Him to do. Jesus didn’t get caught up in government issues. I would think He cared about the things going on around Him. He just didn’t waste His time or energy on it. Instead, He took care of the people & developed leaders that would carry on when He was gone. And carry on they did!

As the verse above shows, the early, very early church did many good works in the community. They took care of the people that needed their help & they didn’t care if they were followers of Jesus or not. In fact, when the church leaders decided to install deacons to minister to the needs of the people, one requirement they had was that some of them needed to speak Greek. This enabled deacons to minister to Gentiles. They ministered to ANYONE THAT NEEDED HELP!

The Apostles got busy right away providing services to those in need. They didn’t sit around talking it to death.  When they saw a need, they found a way to take care of it. AND THEIR NUMBERS GREW! The actions of the early church led to tremendous church growth. Yes, the teachings were powerful too. However, those teaching weren’t just empty words. They backed the words up with action, with good works. 

As Jesus ascended, He instructed His followers to “Teach them all I have SHOWN you!” He wanted them to know that His teachings, His words were important but His ACTIONS were the most important thing for them to remember & share. The way He healed the sick. The way He fed the hungry. The way He treated people of other nations & beliefs. The respect He showed to women. Love God. Love your neighbor. Very simple. 

And remember, charity was not an accepted practice in the days of the early church. Providing for those in need was unheard of. The Roman government provided no services yet they collected a lot of tax dollars from the people. People in need just suffered until Jesus changed all that. And then He told His disciples to continue His work. 

So, perhaps these days we need a little less conversation & a little more action. Time to quit bickering. Time to quit discussing things. Time to quit complaining. Let’s get busy doing the very thing Jesus asked of us & let God take care of the rest. 

Everything is Service

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I was recently watching a John Wayne movie. We can discuss this another time! Back to the movie! At one point, John Wayne is talking to a young man, asking why he doesn’t ask Wayne’s daughter out. The other man feels unworthy since he works for her father. Wayne quickly points out that everyone works for somebody. He, Wayne, owns a huge ranch and a large herd of cattle & he works for the people that buy his cattle & eat the meat from the cattle. Everybody works for somebody!

The same can be said about service, well, something similar. Everything is service. We all serve somebody! When we talk about service in the church or civic organizations, others often think we mean literally serving others. In the church, women quietly groan, thinking they are being asked to serve coffee after church each Sunday or great guests at the next women’s event. Service does include these very important roles but it goes way beyond that.

Everything we do in the church & organization, even our jobs, serves someone else. Even if you have a job or position in an organization that is low level for lack of a better term, you have an obligation to serve those around you & to do it to the best of your ability. You must never, ever think that your role is unimportant. And, of course, I have a story to share to make my point.

Some people think our little toes are unimportant. Obviously, these people have never broken one of their little toes before. I have broken both of mine TWICE! First, it hurts really bad. It’s hard to think because it hurts so bad. Second, your little toes are important to your balance. When they are broken, your balance is thrown completely off! Every part of your body fulfills an important role. No matter how small that body part, no matter how minor the role is, it’s important! Period!

We all serve someone. We need to accept this fact & then focus on serving one another to the best of our ability & beyond!