Summary: Sermon #2 in My favorite disciplines series deals with mundane ministries, the discipline of holding one’s tongue, and apropriate smallness (original ideas from John Ortberg’s book, The Life you always Wanted) (Luke 9:45-48)
#2 in the My Favorite Disciplines
Mundane Ministry / Seismic Significance
CHCC: December 14, 2008
Last week I talked about one of my Favorite Disciplines – Celebration. In our Pueblo Group we studied a book by John Ortberg about Spiritual Disciplines --- and Celebration was one that caught me by surprise --- because I’d never thought of Celebrating as a discipline.
There were other Disciplines that caught me by surprise. The three I want to talk about today are surprising because they seem so MUNDANE. In fact it could be called the MINISTRY OF THE MUNDANE. Most people don’t think of these things are the least bit important … but it turns out that God has a different Rating System.
Look at what Jesus said in Luke chapter 9: An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest." Luke 9:45-48
1. Discipline of Mundane Service
If you want to be the GREATEST, then Serve the “leastest!” The disciples probably considered taking notice of children to be way beneath their status. After all, they were MEN. And they were the CHOSEN 12. Child care was far too mundane for men in such important positions! But Jesus told them, “You want to be great? They make this little child feel welcome.”
If Jesus were talking to us this morning, he might say, “Do you want to do something really important? Sign up to help take care of the Pre-Schoolers.” (And you can bet Ronnie would be right beside Him with a sign-up list ready for you!) We tend to think of working with the children as kind of a menial job, but in God’s eyes, that kind of service is the Greatest of all.
Taking care of children --- whether in the church or school or at home --- is not just for THEIR sake, it’s for YOUR sake. The kind of service you give to children is probably the world’s most powerful tool for spiritual maturity. I felt like I really grew up when I started raising 2 daughters.. And I’ve seen the same kind of maturing in my daughter’s lives as they’ve had their own children.
Here’s what John Ortberg said, “This kind of servanthood can even be fun. … I remember that in the early days of parenthood, Nancy would tell me that few things created within her a greater feeling of closeness to me than when I did acts of service. She said that my vacuuming the carpet felt like an act of valuing her. When I cleaned the garage, she felt a strong sense of oneness and connectedness between us. She said that when she saw me bathing our kids she felt an attraction to me.” (John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, pp. 118-119)
So keep that in mind, guys. If you just pitch in with housework and childcare, your wife might give your points for being romantic!
Jesus used a child as His example, but the general principle is – be kind and helpful to the least important people you may meet. This might mean giving help to someone who is sick or elderly or homeless.
When Jesus took that little child in his arms, he was saying, in effect, “Here’s what will make you GREAT in God’s eyes. Give yourself to those who can’t give you status or clout. Just help people: anyone you can, any time you can, anywhere you can.”
Opportunities for small acts of service come our way hundreds of times every single day. Someone needs help getting a door opened. Someone at work asks you to do them a favor. You see a mess than needs cleaning … or trash that needs to be emptied. You come across a car stalled on the side of the road.
These Small acts of Service don’t seem heroic or impressive. It’s just “random acts of kindness” given every time you have the opportunity to help someone. If we develop the Discipline of Mundane Service, we can fill each and every day with thousands of small, miniscule, mundane … seemingly random … acts of kindness.
These small acts of service won’t show up on our “to do” list. Opportunities for Mundane Service have a way of surprising us … sometimes in our busiest moments --- which means we have to be willing to be interrupted.
I had one such unscheduled event a while back when a man came to my office asking if he could do some work in order to earn enough gas money to drive back to Austin. We get a lot of requests like that at the church, but for some reason that day … his plight touched me. And when I listened to his story I thought it just might be genuine.