Showing Up To Serve
Our Mission Integration Director, Glenn McDonald, serves as our “chaplain” at my employer. Glenn is also a former minister. He sends us a daily “reflection” to start our day. It’s a reminder each day that God is with us. It’s a reminder to integrate our values into what we’re doing. It’s a reminder to think outside of ourselves.
Glenn recently offered up the following reflection:
“A few years ago I arranged to meet a good friend of mine, a pastor on the north side of Indianapolis, for lunch.
We decided to try a restaurant well known for its savory Italian dishes.
We walked through the front door at high noon. Interestingly, there was no one to greet us.
Far across the dining room we could see a few tables of customers being tended by a single server.
Looking toward the kitchen, we could see three cooks.
They were standing motionless, looking at us plaintively.
OK, I thought they were looking at us plaintively.
After five minutes the manager appeared. He was deeply sorry, but he couldn’t seat us.
Only one server had come to work that day, and she had her hands full with those who had already arrived.
My friend and I looked at each other. We were both hungry. So we walked across the street and ate at McAlister’s.
It occurred to us that we had just experienced a living parable of God’s kingdom.
The world is full of hungry people. Cooks are waiting to feed them.
But there aren’t enough servers.
Until the servers show up, not many people are going to be seated.
Or cared for. Or fed. Or inspired to become servants themselves who will feed still others.
Do you want to do something spectacular today? Something that will deepen and extend God’s reign on earth?
Show up and serve.”
I noticed two things in Glenn’s message: the importance of relationship – he starts by sharing with us that the setting of this experience was while building relationship with another minister friend – and what it takes to serve.
As we start a new year at Southeastern, I am challenging myself and all of my brothers and sisters here to improve our “serve.” We have some exciting changes expected this year! We have our building project kicking off this spring! We expect to have our permanent children’s education minister in place! We expect to have new elders working with us! What more can God do with us if we open up to His leading and trust Him?
An upgraded building is just a building until and unless we are using it fully as a tool for the Kingdom. A tool takes human hands to show up and put it to use – that’s our service in action.
Biblical education (children or adult) is the very best food for our souls, but it’s just knowledge until and unless we let it change our hearts and trust those teachings in building relationships with each other.
We may have elders appointed to shepherd this congregation, work with the ministry staff and lead this body where God would have it to go. But we are all tasked to take charge however we are able in our relationships with God, as an active, participating part of this body, and in leading others to Christ.
Our service in God’s kingdom is more than just showing up and filling a role or doing some work. Our service to God is also being there for each other. We serve by building relationships with each other. We serve by supporting each other. And it takes time. This morning, we should greet each other. We should welcome all. But let’s all challenge ourselves at least once this morning to do more than exchange the usual, “Good morning! How are you?” and take a little time to ask about and share what’s troubling us and what’s been a blessing. Let’s start making it a habit to join others for lunch if we’re going out anyway. Let’s plan ahead and invite others to join us for a meal at our homes. We have small groups that can help us nurture our relationships, care for each other, and feed hungry souls. Let’s engage each other in deeper spiritual relationships, tear down our walls of privacy, and share so others can pray with us and for us and take better advantage of our Almighty God’s power that he longs to use in our lives.
We should all be willing to serve the Lord by serving one another by giving up time, effort and space in our lives to share. Some are well along in that journey. Some are just beginning. Let’s put aside judgement and fear and put on love and compassion. Let’s all show up and serve each other. And as we start 2017, our outpost of the Kingdom here at Southeastern will be strengthening our foundation to do amazing things for God!