I was once invited to preach in a church on the Sunday the church honored the women in the congregation. When I arrived, I was given a beautiful corsage. After the service, I was presented with a dozen red roses & then escorted o the Fellowship Hall for a luncheon prepared by the women. The members of the committee in charge took me over to the buffet line, pointing out all the delicious food. When I go to the end of the table, I reached for a plate, eager to enjoy all that food. “No, no, Pastor,” one of the women told me, ” we’ll fix a plate for you!” She then called someone over, telling her to “fix Pastor a plate!” The woman was tickled pink to have the honor of preparing my lunch for me.
I was then escorted to a table & as I waited for my food, every woman I. The church came over to have her photo taken with me! Lunch was delicious & when I finished my main meal, another woman was called over & asked to bring me dessert. My coffee cup was never empty & I thought I would have to be ROLLED out of the hall after lunch. On my way home in the car, I remember thinking I could easily get used to that treatment! Perhaps I needed to rethink my Call (or lack of one) to pastor a church!
Pastors work hard & preaching takes a lot out of you. I think it’s great when church members take care of their pastor, doing things for her. The shepherd needs tending too! However, as I learned in the story above, pampering & attention can become addictive. It can be easy to come to expect special treatment as a pastor, something we must try hard to avoid.
Look again, or perhaps for a first time, at the verse in the graphic above. I love the statement Jesus made. “I, the Son of Man, the Son of God, did NOT come to be served but to serve.” The Lord wanted to make it clear that even HE didn’t expect special treatment. HE didn’t want people waiting on Him, doing favors for Him. NO! Instead, He came to serve others.
This was such a radical idea! First, that someone like Jesus was willing to serve others. The Temple priests sure didn’t spend their time serving others. They wanted to be served. Plus, this was a society where WOMEN served others, not men. Finally, this wasn’t a society where people took care of one another. They might help out their family & a neighbor occasionally but the thought of ongoing service to others in the community was unheard of! Yet Jesus was saying that this was exactly why He came. To serve others.
Jesus set an example that continued in the early church & through the years to today. Unfortunately, we, as Christians have lost our dedication to service, our passion to help others. We may do it as the fancy strikes, at Christmas for example but many of us have gotten comfortable letting someone else take care of it. For many of us, we just don’t know how we can help, where to begin, how to serve.
In 2017, I want to help you understand our need, our innate need as Christians, to serve one another as Christ served & still serves us. I plan to help you identify the gifts & talents you have to offer, help you develop them & discover ways you can use those abilities to serve the church & community. Jesus told us the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Let’s all work together to serve one another, to serve everyone as Jesus serves us. It is the least, the very least we can do.