Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Thursday, July 23, 2014

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

You have an Important Position, Friend.

A few weeks ago I had occasion to visit a local physician regarding a foot problem. It was quite an experience. The office was hard to find, the directions inadequate, but we finally made it to the waiting area. Two reception windows gave us an indistinct choice. The ladies sitting behind the windows were engaged in giggly, personal conversation: they never looked up. I saw a clipboard with a pen and a list of names marked “Sign In,” so I signed in. No one acknowledged our presence. As my appointment time went by, we sat and listened to the evening plans of the office staff, the content of last night’s dinners, and the relative merits of their boyfriends. After 40 minutes, I again approached one of the windows. The young clerk turned slightly, casting me a sideward glance. I told her no one had helped us. She said, “Oh,” and handed me papers to fill out, then she returned to her conversation. I wanted to leave, but my wife calmed me, reminding me of my foot pain. I waited. When we finally got to the doctor, he was affable and competent. He took care of my problem quickly and well. Thank God, my wife saw beyond the packaging and we were able to receive the gift.

Here was a situation where a man had a great product. He was skillful and had carefully honed his skills to help people. Yet I almost missed that blessing because of the inattention and self-absorption of the office staff. It is difficult not to draw a parallel to the church. Our “product” is without compare: Jesus. The story of redemption we tell is compelling. I have spent years getting better at my craft. For every service I do my utmost to prepare in such a way that lives can be impacted with the power and love of God. Yet all this matters little without the loving and attentive care of the rest of the Body of the Church. Thank God for the welcomers at the door, the coffee bar servers, the ushers, the kids church helpers, bathroom cleaners, the outreach workers, and all the rest. Without every gift and skill, even the best product in the best package presented by the most polished purveyor will fail to reach its mark. It takes all of us being as good as we can possibly be to maximize the impact of our Precious Product.

Somebody Said: Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Henry Ford

Scripture Reading: There is only one Spirit who does all these things by giving what God wants to give to each person. For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. (1Co 12:11-12 GW)

We all come to church to get something: the fellowship, the worship experience, the nourishing Word… But as we grow up, we realize that we also come to church to give something: a welcoming hand, a word of encouragement, simple directions, or even a better seat. At every service we have the extraordinary opportunity to facilitate someone else receiving a touch from God. Every job is important. Your job is important. Do it with passion. It makes a difference.



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