Summary: In order to be effective servants helping the church be all that God called it to be, we must be genuine servants. That is to say, we must be serious, sincere, sober and straightforward in our service for Christ.
Just a few years ago, Larknews.com carried the following fictional piece of satire on its website. In the form of a news release, it reported:
Julie and Bob Clark were stunned to receive a letter from their church in July asking them to “participate in the life of the church” – or worship elsewhere. “They basically called us freeloaders,” says Julie. “We were freeloaders,” says Bob.
In a trend that may signal rough times for wallflower Christians, the Faith Community Church of Winston-Salem has asked “non-participating members” to stop attending. “No more Mr. Nice Church,” says the executive pastor, newly hired from Cingular Wireless. “Bigger is not always better. Providing free services indefinitely to complacent Christians is not our mission.”
“Freeloading” Christians were straining the church's nursery and facility resources, and harming the church's ability to reach the lost, says the pastor. “When your bottom line is saving souls, you get impatient with people who interfere with that goal.”
Faith Community sent polite but firm letters to families who attend church services and “freebie events,” but never volunteer, never give, and do not belong to a small group or other ministry. The church estimates that only half of its regular attendees have volunteered in the past 3 years, and a third have never given to the church.
“Before now, we made people feel comfortable and welcome, and tried to coax them to give a little something in return,” says a staff member. “That's changed. We're done being the community nanny.”
Surprisingly, the move to dis-invite people has drawn a positive response from men in the community who like the idea of an in-your-face church. “I thought, A church that doesn't allow wussies—that rocks,” says Bob Clark, who admires the church more since they told him to get lost. (Joel Kilpatrick, "Mega-Church Downsizes, Cuts Non-Essential Members," Larknews.com (September, 2006; www.PreachingToday.com)
Now, I’m not for a minute suggesting that we dis-invite all the freeloaders in the church. This is satire, and like all good satire it exaggerates reality to make a point. It makes you think! What would happen if every member of the church took seriously the call to true service? What would happen if every one of us would stop coming to church with the question, “What’s in it for me?” and start asking, “How can I Give?” or “How can I serve?”
There is no telling how effective we could be in reaching our community and our world with the love of Jesus Christ if we came with that attitude.
The question is: What kind of servants do we need to be to help our church be all it can be for Jesus Christ? What does a true servant look like, one that makes a real difference in people’s lives.
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Timothy 3, 1 Timothy 3, where the Bible talks about the kind of servants the church needs. 1 Timothy 3:8. You’ll notice that the text talks about “deacons,” but that’s simply a word which means “servant.”
1 Timothy 3:8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.
If you want to be an effective servant, then 1st of all you must be serious. You must be serious about the task God has given you to do. Verse 8 says, good servants are “men worthy of respect.” In other words, they are serious men of honor, not clowns.
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t have a sense of humor. You have to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes; otherwise, you’ll just go crazy.
Larry Moyer tells the story of a woman who woke her husband in the middle of the night, and said, “Henry, wake up. I just had this terrible nightmare. I dreamed I was at an auction for husbands. One husband brought $10,000 and others sold for sums in the millions.”
That's all it took to get him awake. He asked, “Well, Honey, what were husbands like me bringing?”
She said, “That's what was so disgusting. They were taking ones like you, tying them in a bundle, and selling them for a dollar a bunch.” (R. Larry Moyer, “Right Smack in the Middle of Sin,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 148; www.PreachingToday.com)
In and of ourselves, none of us are really all that indispensible. So we better not take ourselves too seriously. But if we want to be effective servants, we will take the Lord and the task He has given us to do very seriously.
You see, the life of the church is not all about me. It doesn’t revolve around me and my desires. It revolves around Christ. It’s about honoring Christ. So if we want to help our church be all that it can be, then we must be serious about Him.