Summary: everyone is important to the work of God
Intro: when I was younger I had the lone ranger mentality, the rise and fall of every situation rested squarely on the shoulders of the leader. So I went into ministry thinking I had sole responsibility for success in every situation. Now 18 years later my thinking is exactly opposite, to see the quality of a leader, find out how many people there are following them. Years ago I had a deacon tell that you should never have a one monkey show, because if the monkey dies, the show is over. A perfect example of the importance of significant others is found in scripture. In Acts 9:25 we find a simple verse that says a lot, “ then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.”
I have preached this sermon for years, and the response is always the same, I never knew the value of a rope handler.
1. Who Are the Rope handlers? —they are simply disciples of Christ. Paul was the great Apostle with tremendous ministry ability, but if it wasn’t for a group of rope handlers, his ministry would have been terminated.
a. Rope handlers are the ordinary people that help a leader do extraordinary things. It is amazing what a team can accomplish together. In the NBA, the team with the leagues leading scoring generally doesn’t win. Boston for example won many championships while Wilt Chamberlin was the dominant player in the league.
2. What Do They Do?—they do their job, and they do it well. Maybe they can’t preach, maybe they can’t do miracles, maybe they never get in the spotlight at all, but because of them, the leader, the church, the business is a success, and without them, it would be sure to fall.
Ill) at Bethel we have an 86 year old man named C.V. Rushing. He has cut the grass at the church for 20 years. He can’t preach or sing or do anything that would be seen in the spotlight, but his ministry has been a great asset to the church for many years.
3. When do they do it?—they do it every day. Many times ministry is seen as a week-end endeavor, but rope handlers handle ropes every day. The ministry of a rope handler is a lifetime event. They handle ropes for the church, they handle ropes for their family, they handle ropes for their employer. A simple definition of a rope handler is someone who consistently handles ropes throughout a lifetime of service.
* it is a good thing for Paul that these rope handlers didn’t call in sick, say that they had made other plans or stated rope handling wasn’t in their port folio. A good rope handler isn’t trying to find out what they don’t need to do, they are trying to find out what they can do, and when they can do it.
4. How do they do it? They pull up their sleeves, grab and hold on. It takes perseverance to be a rope handler. Others let go, others quit, some say the task is to hard or the load is too great, but a rope handler hangs on, because the life of others is always in their hands.
Ill) the other day they interviewed the oldest employee in America. A
96 year old lady who works as a clerk in New York City. They asked
her why she didn’t retire, she said, “ because I want to be useful and
I feel I am important here.” This is the mindset of a rope handler, my
Job may seem small, but without me someone is going to fall and fall
5. Why do they do it? Because they want to do something, and they want their life to make a difference.
a. a person without purpose can never be listed in the ranks of rope handlers. A rope handler does life on purpose. It may not be a job that others would want, they may not receive the awards or recognition that others receive, but they feel significance in what they accomplish.
Ill) it is like the black man that had the most beautiful garden in town. One day as he was out working the garden, and hoeing some weeds, a man passed by and said, “ God has really blessed you with a beautiful garden.” The black man smiled and said, “ sure has, but you should have seen it when God had it by himself.”
b. they also believe in the leader, the team, the company, the church. They work, they give, they hold the ropes, because they know that someone else is depending on them.
close: Rope handlers— they are what makes this country work, they are what makes a business work, they are what makes the church work, they are what makes the family work. Hear the call to be a rope handler, there are ropes out there waiting for you to pick up, there are people out there that need you to hang on so they can live.