It’s Not About Us
It’s Not About Us
by Dale Reeves
At Christ’s Church we are in the last weeks of the sermon series, “The Church Has Left the Building.” The reason we are called to leave the comfort of the church building is so that we can BE THE CHURCH in our homes, in our neighborhoods, at school, at work, in our community, in our nation, and in the world. Jesus declared in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (ESV).
The reason the gates of Hell will not win is because this church is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, on Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, ESV). It is not built on any other person, not a preacher, not a group of elders, not a bunch of good moral people, not a great music program, not a great children’s ministry, but only on the foundation of Jesus Christ, and him alone. That is why when we share the good news of how Jesus wants to rescue the lost and reclaim the wayward, we can’t take credit for what God is doing. God is the center of the story and the most important thing is that people see God in the midst of what we are doing.
We live in a world that will tell you to get all the credit you can. This past month it has been impossible to avoid the omnipresent political ads, hasn’t it? The ploy that every ad takes is this: Smear the image of the opposing candidate as much as possible and enumerate as many good things as you can take credit for. Then, you hope that those watching the ad actually believe the information that is presented there. We live in a world that is all about getting your name and brand out there. We live in a culture that is “ME” centric.
I shared some of these thoughts with our church staff and asked which volunteers in their ministries came to mind—men and women who serve all-in with no thought of any recognition themselves. Here’s a sampling of their responses:
“John and Laurie Cullen reached out to me as soon as the doors of our church building reopened. They saw a need for door greeters, and they knew they could help. It isn’t uncommon for me to receive an email on their ‘off week,’ stating that they are available and willing to serve! All of this is taking place while John is undergoing cancer treatments. Truly remarkable!”
“When you have someone on your team who not only serves, but also makes a point to pray with you and simply check in, that is Kate Weber. Seeing how community has been a by-product of serving together is an amazing thing to see.”
“When Darlene Hicks catches wind of a baptism that is going to be taking place, she takes it upon herself to meet the person, get them situated in a changing room, and make sure the baptistry is ready for them. She is the first person to share a celebratory hug with the one who was just baptized and she will remember that person the following Sunday as he or she walks through the door.”
“While we were collecting food for families during the COVID school shutdown this year, Gary and Cindy Stanton saw a need and realized that they could help to fulfill that need. They were here every month to help collect the food and Cindy would ask questions and listen to get to know the stories of other volunteers who joined us each week.”
Not for Applause
The psalmist wrote, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1, NLT).
I want to give credit to some other tireless servants who serve Jesus and his church without any fanfare or applause. One of our children’s ministry directors had this to say about a few of her volunteers: “Brittany Reed volunteers in CC Kids and is doing a phenomenal job of teaching our current Rooted for Kids class, as well as being a small group leader in our first and second grade class. Her husband Josh volunteers with the security team and is a vital part of Man Church.”
“Jill Buffenbarger and Russ Doyle work regularly with our children who have special needs. They never ask for anything, never complain—even though they have been bit, hit, and kicked! They just serve kids in the name of Jesus, smile, love, and go above and beyond every time!”
On the other end of the age spectrum we have some adults who give that same kind of energy for our senior adult and pastoral care ministries. For instance, “Peggy Ayer is quietly faithful and never forgets her times to make hospital calls. She has made many phone calls during this COVID-19 season. And, she faithfully visits an elderly lady who does not attend church here—a lady who has very few, if any, visitors. Another very faithful member of the hospital visitation team and funeral volunteer team is Barb Pettyjohn. She prefers not to be recognized but serves effectively and quietly, and she has a gift of keeping in touch with others through her gift of encouragement.”
“Ann Horsley is a hard-working, committed, and talented servant. She never expects any recognition though much is due to her for all that she has given to this congregation over the years. Most recently she has assumed the leadership of the pillow-case dresses that our church makes for the children of Haiti. It is a joy to watch her lovingly impart her knowledge of sewing to our youth in the church through this outreach project.”
Serving with Joy
We are each gifted by God for the purpose of using whatever talents we have been blessed with and sharing them with others—whether that is inside the church building, outside on our property, or to the ends of the earth. For instance, “Steve Craig has been a team leader on the mowing team for about twenty years. TWENTY YEARS! He has always been under the radar but does it for God and the church. He is a rock star!”
“John Broekema is also a mowing team leader, in addition to starting and leading a young adults Bible study with his wife Katy. John is also a leader of a Sunday morning group because of his desire to see adults deepen their spiritual walk with Christ.”
“Marsha Collins is always available to help in the pastoral ministry, whether it be hospital visitations or as a funeral volunteer. She works quietly and efficiently in the background with such great joy and eagerness to serve. And she and her husband Larry are our chief elves as we pack Operation Christmas Child boxes this time of year!” Wanna know more about this project? Check it out here.
The apostle Peter challenges us, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10, NLT).
When it is not about us, God moves through us. Where will he move in your life this week?