1 Corinthians 12:4-7
It’s that time of year again for most churches. The fine members of the local church Nominating Committee are making their rounds. They are phoning folks, flagging members down in the church parking lot, sending out letters to inform the church about open positions, and are trying to catch your eye across the crowded worship center on Sunday morning. They have a huge task before them: to answer the question… “Who is going to serve this church in 2014?”
For those not skilled in the art of nominating committee dodging, (you have to be a Christian a while to get really good at it) you have to come up with a suitable answer when asked… an answer that doesn’t use the word “no” but communicates it just the same. A favorite answer is: “I will pray about it.”
Now, I wonder what it is they are praying about. If it is for them to make an informed decision about where to serve… to teach a class or become a youth sponsor or serve as an usher,… then that is fine. What I hope they don’t mean is whether or not they should serve at all.
The Bible is already clear on this: Every member is to be a minister. Paul writes to the Corinthians: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
Paul is saying, “Sure we aren’t all gifted in the same way, sure not every ministry is going to be our cup of tea, and yes, some ministries have greater impact than others… I will give you all of that. But EACH ONE of you have been given a gift! And note that the gift is for the “common good.”
The “common good” requires everyone to contribute. If we don’t all chip in for the pizza… somebody will be left holding a hefty bill. (This has happened to me… I have been a youth minister.) If we don’t all bring our instruments to the recital… Beethoven‘s 5th is going to sound pretty awful instead of pretty awesome. If we don’t all bring something to the potluck… not everybody is going to get fed!
I had a lady in a former church that came to the pot luck without a covered dish. Nobody was going to say anything to her, but she offered this excuse anyway: “I was going to make a fruit salad, but God told me not to.” Really? God wanted there to be less food at the fellowship meal? The logic here escapes me. But this is the same logic for believers that won’t minister because they need to “pray about it.” Whatever your reason for a ministry vacation (time off for yourself… the desire to draw closer to family… to spend more time with God… etc.), know that the Bible is clear… the common good outweighs the good of the individual. God has called you to a family!
Do something for me this Sunday. When you see that Nominating Committee member in the Sanctuary… approach them and ask: “Where can I best serve in 2014?” You just might be the fruit salad they are looking for.