A Call To Service

30 May 2016
Bill Lofthouse
1 Comment

At the beginning of WW1 there was, in Britain, an iconic recruiting poster calling men to volunteer for service in the armed forces. The head and shoulders of Earl Kitchener was depicted pointing his finger straight out and the caption read “Your country needs YOU”. Regardless of the angle from which you looked at the poster, that finger pointed right at you – you couldn’t escape the eyes and fingertip.

Do we need a similar poster at the entrance to Westville Baptist Church, featuring John Benn with the caption reading “Your Church needs YOU”.

You may ask “Why would my church need me? I mean, I have enough on my plate as it is, take the kids to school, pick ‘em up, cook the dinner and …… and ……. What are the pastors and pastoral staff for? Is it not their job to do see to all the church stuff? The Greek word for “Pastor” also means “Shepherd”. What does a shepherd do? He looks after the sheep in his flock, he doesn’t ask the sheep to help him, and am I not one of the sheep in the pastor’s flock so doesn’t that let me out”? NO !! The sheep also have to take some responsibility; the shepherd is there to lead the sheep, not to carry them; it is his job to oversee the flock and lead it to a pasture, but it is not his job to point out the various patches of clover, the sheep can do that for themselves.

In what organisation does the leader do all the work? He has a team of workers to help him out (even Santa has his little helpers I’m told) so that he can do the leading more efficiently. The same principle applies to the church. The pastors and pastoral staff are very busy people carrying a huge responsibility and are accountable to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. They cannot be expected to do their designated jobs and, additionally, do all the nitty-gritty things such as tend the church gardens, do small odd jobs around the buildings, or visit all who are sick all of the time.

For any family, and I am talking about an all inclusive family, if it is to become wholesome and functional, all the family members must pull their weight and not leave everything to Mom and Dad. Obviously not all of the members have the same capability – the very young and the elderly can’t be expected to mow the lawn but the elderly can look out for the young and leave the Mom free to cook etc. One of the older boys can, for example, mow the lawn, other family members can do the dishes, do a bit of vacuuming or at least keep their own room tidy, giving Mom a bit of free time to catch her breath. Most of these little things aren’t glamorous but they are essential. They take but little of your time but the help they give to others is invaluable.

The vision for Westville Baptist Church is to be a Spiritual family, a family as God intended and just as in the out-of-church family, the spiritual family members must not just leave everything to Mom and Dad (the pastoral staff) if the family is to grow and become as God intended. Peter tells his readers ”Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others ….. so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4: 10, 11 NIV). Paul tells us “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith …….not by works so that no-one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2: 9, 10 NIV). James, in his letter, states “…… faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17 NIV). The story is told about a chap called Calverly who, in 1892, crossed the Niagara Falls on a tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow. He then asked the watching crowds if they thought he could do it again but with someone sitting in the wheelbarrow. “YES” they shouted, so he then asked for a volunteer to sit in the wheelbarrow. They all believed that he could do it but no-one was prepared to help him prove it. Work and service are not a means of “earning” salvation but they are the affirmation of our receipt of God’s gracious gift.

Do you believe that the church pastoral staff and elders need some help to realise the church’s vision of being the home of a spiritual family as God intended? Do you believe that God prepared in advance good works for you to do? Do you believe that our good works are a manifestation of our having been saved? That we are to work, not for our salvation but because of it? If so, then that finger is pointing at you asking you to volunteer for service. There are many openings and most of them only require a couple of hours of your time once a week. For those who are physically unable to “work”, praying for those who can and for the sick is an option. Regardless of the service you volunteer for, whether it be a big job or a little one (God doesn’t look at the size, he only looks at the motive), it will be a blessing to someone and you, yourself will be blessed.

At the Last Supper, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and told them “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13: 15, 17 NIV). Here we have confirmation from Christ Himself that serving others is pleasing to Him, it proves our love for Him and is a source of blessing from Him. If He was willing to perform the lowliest of jobs, then we too, should be prepared to do likewise and symbolically wash each other’s feet by our humble service to one another.

Comments

This is amazing!

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