Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Service of the Stars (Radio / Podcast)

And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not…
(Jeremiah 45:5 – ESV)

One of the ironic problems pastors in small or growing churches face happens when they call the people in the pews to service. Some, instead of coming to the leadership and asking what needs to be done, take it on themselves to decide what needs to be done. Then they ask the leadership to put their stamp of approval on it, and more, to participate and sometimes to actually do the thing. It gets out of control, and ironically people are getting geared up but you want them to slow down. We want people to do something, and we already have an idea in mind, yet they don’t or won’t come to us, they feel like they have this big thing they want or they feel like the church needs to tackle, and then they expect us to sign on, and it's out of order.

It would seem that when we surrender to the person of Jesus, then the idea is that we can now just do what we want as far as service is concerned. It is like those movie stars who get saved and then they justify in their minds that of course they should have a big ministry because they have a big platform, etc. We need to submit before we serve, we don’t just get to serve in whatever way we want. We submit and do what needs to be done and then we find what we are suited for. It is part of the process of being integrated into a community of faith. God will then allow us to be used “properly”, but first God wants us to be humble enough to admit that we aren’t right to have the mentality of, “if I decide to serve I get to do it my own way”. That isn’t service that is selfish.

Some know they aren’t movie stars but they want to be ministry stars. “If I could just find a church that would let me do my thing, then they would see.” No you need to see that you are completely out of order. It is hard to tell people these things however, because they will get offended and stop doing anything and give the old “I was just trying to help like you asked” but they are wrong. They may be sacrificing time or money or talent or whatever but they are not sacrificing their will, not really. What they are saying, in effect, is, “Okay I’ll serve but you still aren’t going to tell me what to do.”

The would be ministry star has these projects that they want to do, when what they need to do is all the ordinary boring stuff that they just won’t do. You will hear the retort in many different, subtle forms, “But I have been trying to do this for so long and someone else gets their thing before mine”. They won’t be faithful in a little thing and they expect to be promoted in their big thing. How many people do you know that have big talent and never move on? Why? This is why! You must be faithful with little things and in another person’s ministry before God will let you and let them promote your own.

Here’s my advice, just suck it up, and let it go. When you are satisfied in God, and content to NEVER be able to do that great big ministry you have in mind, then maybe, God will give it to you, but not before. God forbid that He does allow you to have it when you aren’t submitted, because if you get to do it before you are fashioned in submission then what is happening is that God is allowing that, your dream, to be the means of your downfall. I tell you the truth!

It’s not about some heavy handed “this is what you must do” thing it is simply a matter of perspective. Instead of coming and asking how can I help we state, “this is the way I want to help”, and “will you help me”. It is turned on its head; the church is asked to help the member with their mission instead of the member asking to help the church with its mission.

Service without submission can be well-intentioned, but will be ineffective, it is often professional, paternalistic, problem solving, and wanting to do good by “sharing” from a position of superiority. The Bible deliberately pushes us into the area of discomfort, forcing us to accept a posture of submission until our pride is exposed, and our desire to be controlling is revealed. Instead we have no control over our own lives and yet we want to and think we can fix others.

Like Baruch, we must learn that significance is not prominence. God is watching, and we need to be faithful to give Him glory in all we do, whatever that may be (Colossians 3:23). Be a shining star in the world He creates for you, not in the one you create for yourself.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

This post was originally shown 10-6-06, and reposted 2-20-09, but it didn't have the audio portion...

In other words, although we are mixing new posts with old posts, the old ones now have an audio, which also includes more information and discussion. You can hear these archived at SermonAudio, as well as at voiceofvision.org.

God bless you…

Even So... said...

As with many of our older posts, there were many comments and good perpsectives and additions the first time we posted this article...you can find it in the archives, but feel free to comment here...