Every church I’ve ever known has a person in it named Somebody. Even though I’ve never met this person, and even though I’ve never found them in the directory, I know he exists because everyone talks about him. I hear people say things like, “Well, I can’t do that, but Somebody will.” “That’s not for me, but Somebody will do it.” “That sounds like a great ministry to get involved with, but I don’t have time. Somebody will step up.”
Who is this All-Star? Every pastor on the planet would die to meet this person!
All joking aside, to be a follower of Christ brings with it a call to serve others. Christianity is called “Upside Down Kingdom” because practicing it cuts at the grain of my sin nature. “Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all,” Jesus said. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.” (Mark 10:44-45). See what I mean? My first thought in the morning is not about how I can help my wife get her day off on the right foot. By nature, my first thought is about me, me, ME!
So how can we improve our serve? Here are a couple pointers.
First, you have to open your mind to serving. Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” The Greek word for “consider” means to “think decisively”, “clearly understand”, or “attentively concentrate”. Put simply, you first have to think about it, and get it on your radar.
This is an important step because it recognizes the bent of our sin nature. And so we have to intentionally awaken the serving impulse inside of us. Jesus told a parable about a father who asks two sons to go work in the fields for him (Matthew 21:28-32). One son immediately says, “On my way, dad,” then blows him off. The other son says, “Buzz off!”, then thinks better of it and goes. Jesus asks, “Which one did his father’s will?” Obviously it’s the one who obeyed, even though he had to take a roundabout way to get there.
And when it comes to helping others, usually it’s the roundabout way for us. Our instinct will be to say “No”. But then should we take the time to think it through, our heart begins to open up to the possibility.
This then leads to a second pointer for improving our serve: You have to open your eyes.
We have to see the opportunities for serving that are around us. Ephesians 2:10 says something fascinating. “We’re created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
In other words, the opportunities will present themselves to us. We just need to open our eyes. Sometimes they’ll come out of nowhere, like in the story of the Good Samaritan. “Oh, there’s a guy lying at the side of the road bleeding. It looks like he’s in trouble. Hmm, wonder if I should help?” More often than not, the opportunities we need to see have been there awhile, we’ve just been ignoring them.
We have a ministry here at Bridgeway called Bridgehelps. Most churches have something like this (often it’s called a “Diaconate”, staffed by a team of deacons and deaconesses.) Ministries like this exists to help organize the caregiving capacity of a congregation so that nobody falls through the cracks.
So if a person goes into the hospital, or someone’s having a baby, (like seven of our families are right now – the Coronials are coming!) and their family needs a meal, we get the word out, because like they say, many hands make light work.
The key to a ministry like Bridgehelps working is that as many people as possible who have opened their minds to the possibility of serving will then open their eyes and see the emails we send out.
And not leave it to “Somebody”. Because yunno, Sometimes somebody is you.
Bear Clifton, writer and screenwriter, is the pastor of BridgeWay Community Church in California, Maryland. His blogs, screenplays and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is also the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, “A Sparrow Could Fall”, and his latest – “Living Under The Cross”, a collection of essays on the Beatitudes – all available through Amazon.