There are three types of church members:
The first two are destructive to a church body. Complainers destroy morale and consumers devour ministries.
The third? The third is the lifeblood of any church.
As a nation overall we are consumers. Americans are called consumers; I remember a day when we were called citizens. My dear brother-in-Christ David Triana has renamed Americans to MEricans. We have nearly one half of the nation on some type of government assistance that whenever politics come up, many Americans want to see the out-of-control spending cut, as long as it doesn’t affect them. This consumerism has infiltrated the church to the point now that most people do not serve, aka contribute, to the life of the church. They either complain or consume; they are a burden to the Body of Christ instead of being a blessing and receiving a blessing. The Bible gives clear example of our response when we are called upon to serve:
“So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.” (1 Kings 19:21)
The life of Elisha is one worth studying, but suffice it to say his obedience to God’s call on his life, not only changed his life, but changed the lives of others. That is how God works. Our Lord gave us clear instruction on serving. Most of us want the “glamorous” jobs and can’t be bothered with the everyday chores of running a church. Even the Disciples were guilty of this:
“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.’ And He said to them, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ So Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.’ And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’” (Mark 10:35-45)
When you concentrate on what you can get out of church, you end up on the short end of the stick. Your church life becomes stale and routine; eventually you become a church trout, swimming from church to church chasing the latest gimmick that will satiate your appetite for spiritual pleasure.
Ten years ago this month, Karen and I were asked to serve as leaders of the 6-8 year old Super Summer program. I had no idea (or had seemingly forgotten) how to deal with that age group. My youngest was 16 years old and it seemed like a lifetime since I’d been around children that age. But we remembered what Bro Dennis had said, “If we ask you to serve, you really don’t need to pray about it because we already have and God has put you on our hearts. You just have to decide to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
I told Karen that this was obviously God’s desire and that if we did this we would have to rely on God’s good grace to do it for His glory. And our Lord was faithful beyond our wildest dreams. Not only did we get to serve these wonderful children and fall in love with all of them, but also we got to meet their parents. As a new couple at a church, that was huge for us. And last Friday night we got to recount this story with one of those eight year olds who is now graduating high school.
Too often we look at serving in church as menial labor instead of ministry. You will never know the true blessings of God until you decide to serve. Yesterday our pastor informed the church that his ministers had told him that the church members they asked to serve said they were too busy to serve in church. I always say show me a Christian’s calendar and checkbook and I’ll show what type of Christian they are.
Let me leave you with this question to ponder:
If you were a pastor and had come to the point that your people were unwilling to serve in ministries throughout the church, and those ministries were not being filled, what would you do with those ministries?
He who has hears, let him hear…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers