Summary: One of the rallying cries in the church is "let someone else do it!" Why do people say that, and how do we change their minds about it?
OPEN: A church once put this on the back page of their bulletin -
CHURCH MOURNS DEATH OF PROMINENT MEMBER
The church was saddened this past week to learn of the death of one of its most prominent members, "Someone Else."
"Someone’s" passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. "Else" has been with us for so many years. "Someone" did far more than a normal person’s share of the work. Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone’s list. Let "someone else" do it.
It was common knowledge that "Someone Else" was among the most generous givers in the church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed that "Someone Else" would make up the difference. "Someone Else" was a wonderful person - sometimes appearing to be superhuman, but a person can only do so much. Were the truth known, everyone expected too much of "Someone Else."
Now "Someone Else" is gone. We wonder what we are going to do. "Someone Else" left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to do the things "Someone Else" did?
APPLY: I’ve been told that in the typical church, 90% of work is done by 10% of the people
ILLUS: I was talking once with a preacher who explained his frustration in not being able to get much of anyone to help out in the nursery. The congregation was made up principally of retired individuals and when asked to help they would complain "I’ve done my share of work in this congregation. Get someone else to do it!"
There are many reasons why people don’t help in church (here are just a few I could think of)
· Sometimes its because they feel they have done enough for the church in the past and now it’s their turn to just sit in their pews
· Sometimes, because the preacher doesn’t want the help. He enjoys doing ministry so much he doesn’t want to share it.
· And then, sometimes, churches have the attitude that ministry was what they pay the preacher and the youth minister to do.
Like I said, there are many reasons why people don’t do ministry in the church, BUT I BELIEVE the principle reason people don’t "do ministry" in the church is because they don’t understand how critical their service is to the Church and to Christ.
I. For example: consider the Apostle Paul
Paul is perhaps one of the best known of the Apostles. In the New Testament, Paul’s name is probably mentioned more often than anyone else’s other than Jesus. And this may have a lot to do with the fact that Paul wrote nearly half the New Testament himself.
He was instrumental in forming much of the thinking and theology of the early church. In fact, Paul’s influence was so powerful in the early church, that - to this day - Jewish religious leaders literally hate the Apostle Paul.
ILLUS: I’ve been told that religious leaders in Judaism dismiss Jesus as a deluded and uneducated country preacher who was later misrepresented by His followers.
Jesus they can forgive.
But, Paul... they despise him. Paul had been a Pharisee, a student of the great Gamaliel, and an early persecutor of the church. These religious leaders believe, that had it not been for Paul, the church would not have become as strong and influential as it has.
And - of course - they’re probably right.
II. All of this leads many people to believe that Paul literally turned the world upside down - all by himself. But he didn’t.
Consider the list of friends and companions Paul mentions here in Colossians 4:
Tychicus (for example) was with Paul on part of his missionary journeys and was a regular letter carrier for Paul to places like Colossae, Ephesus, and to men like Titus, and Timothy.
Aristarchus - traveled regularly with Paul and was with him when Paul was mobbed in Ephesus, shipwrecked in the Mediterranean, and was later imprisoned along with Paul.
Epaphras - apparently also imprisoned with Paul (according to Philemon 1:23) and he was a man dedicated to the ministry of prayer.
THEN there were people like
Onesimus, once a servant of Philemon who proved himself so useful to Paul that Paul asked for his freedom so he could continue to serve beside him.
Mark who wrote the Gospel that bears his name, who was with Paul on his early missionary journeys
Luke (who composed the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts) was a faithful companion during most of Paul’s ministries
AND then there are lesser known individuals like
Nympha who housed a church in her home
Archippus - either a preacher, teacher or other prominent person there at Colossae