Tag Archives: serving in the church

September 24; Keep It Going

Nehemiah 9:38-11:36

The people we read about in the book of Nehemiah weren’t satisfied with building the wall, then putting their feet up and relaxing. What we read in these chapters is their determination to serve the Lord after the job of repairing the wall was complete.

And once again, we see many people chipping in and contributing to the work. They even organized a schedule for people to provide the wood needed for the burnt sacrifices. No detail was too small. They had worked on their individual sections of the wall until it was complete. Now they were going to take on individual responsibilities to keep God’s work going.

Yes, Church. That’s a picture of us, or it should be. Are you doing your part, or are you allowing a faithful few to pull the weight of ministry in your fellowship? You and I are needed to further the Gospel through the body of believers with whom we worship. God has commanded us to go into our communities to tell people about Jesus, and to make disciples. Churches have been doing that work for 2,000 years. Will we keep it going?

Numbers 7-9; Whose Responsibility Is This, Anyway?

I’m teaching a Sunday School class this quarter for the older ladies of our church. Our ages range from 60-80something. These women bless me and challenge me every week.

We’ve been looking at Jesus’ last days on earth in human form, and have been impressed with the Savior’s urgency in preparing his disciples for what was to come. Jesus was going to die, then come back to life, and there would be work for them to do amid hardship, persecution, and blessing.

Our lesson book is challenging us to get busy ourselves in sharing the Gospel, reminding us that there are people out there going to hell without Jesus.

I was praying Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church. Standing in front of the mirror with hair drier humming, I prayed, “God, these women have walked with you for decades. They are prayer warriors. They continue to use their gifts to serve you. Many have health issues. Some are widows the church should care for. They’ve put in their time, and this lesson is telling them to get busy. What can I possibly say to these dear women who are at the end of their service?”

The thought came to me, “Do you think I’m done with them, that they are of no use to Me?”

Point taken. I taught the lesson, and reminded them God does have something for them to do, someone they need to share the Gospel with, some whose lives God wants them to touch for eternity.

This thought was reinforced today as I read 8:23-26. Priests had mandatory retirement at age 50. After serving in the temple for 20 years, their responsibilities were passed on to younger men.

But here’s the good news for us old geezers: “They may assist their brothers in performing their duties…”

God doesn’t want us to turn in our union cards just because the pages of our calendars show more days behind us than ahead.

There’s a flip side to this coin. My Ohio church family does amazing things in the community. It’s a small congregation of people who love the Lord, and who work hard. And the bulk of the work is done by the dear ones who are in their 70’s and 80’s.

They work with backaches, arthritis, hernias. They work with hearing loss, and fatigue. But whenever there is a job to be done, these amazing people are the first in line. I love them so much.

But, young people – where are you? God’s footprint for an effective church includes you. It’s easy to let someone else do a job if that job is a bit inconvenient. They’re retired. I’m working. They’ve got experience. I don’t. Their kids are grown. Mine demand my attention.

Lets’ be honest here. We all find the time to do things that are important to us.

So whose responsibility is the work of the church? It’s all of us who know the Lord. It’s yours. It’s mine. There is something for all of us to do.

Let’s be faithful.

September 26 – Git ‘er Done

Nehemiah 1-5

Every time I read Nehemiah I am impressed with the unrelenting passion the Jews had for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. They worked together, supported and protected each other, even in the face of threats and opposition. They had a job to do and they just wanted to get it done!

Wouldn’t it be exciting to be a part of such a fellowship? I pray that your local church has the same kind of focus, the same determination to get God’s Church built one soul at a time. I trust it’s a fellowship that supports and protects each other, that works together and prays together as you share the Gospel.

But if your church isn’t working like that, why not? Is there bickering or jealousy? Blatant sin, or acceptance of sin? Are one or two people carrying the bulk of the load while the rest warm a pew on Sunday morning?

Are you part of the problem? Are there sins you need to confess, people whose forgiveness you need to ask for, responsibilities you need to take on? Your church has the job of spreading the Gospel to your community. Are you doing your part to make that happen, or are you a Sanballat or Tobiah in the midst?

Satan would love to stop your church fellowship from being effective in the work of the Lord. The Jews in Nehemiah didn’t let that happen. Don’t you.

You and your church fellowship have a job to do. May you have that unrelenting passion and together, git ‘er done!

September 11 – A Lesson From Former Priests

Ezekiel 44-45

The Levites were sinful men. Some of them had done things that resulted in God’s taking away their positions as priests. In this life, they had to bear their shame for the sins they committed. Yet God gave them other responsibilities in the care of the temple and the temple services.

All of us bear the marks of the sins we have committed. Some of us publicly bear the shame and embarrassment of past choices. Broken marriages, addictions, abortions, and the like never go away. We remember. Others remember.

And sometimes those sins can exclude us from certain parts of ministry. But I am thankful that God doesn’t just write us off.

God has things for us to do in service to Him. He forgives every sin we bring to Him and dresses us with Jesus’ righteousness before the Father. So if that particular sin we’ve committed excludes us from serving as a deacon, we can serve as a grounds keeper. We can visit the sick, or care for widows. If our past prevents us from being a pastor, we might help with the food outreach or keep track of the church finances.

I know there will be some who disagree with me on this. Doesn’t God forgive and wash us clean? Absolutely! We are whiter than snow before our Holy God when He sees us through the blood of His Son.  I think of Matthew, a dishonest tax collector, or Paul, a killer of Christians, both of whom served God in incredible ways after they met Jesus. I am forever thankful for that fact.

A murderer still faces the consequence for that murder, even if he or she comes to the Savior while behind bars. They are free from the law of sin and death. But they are not free to walk out of that prison. A child who was aborted does’t automatically come to life when the parent confesses that sin. People hurt by the actions of an addict don’t automatically heal just because the addict asked God to forgive him or her. Sometimes we just have to live with consequences for sin.

But that’s not an excuse to quit serving. Ezekiel tells us the former priests took on other responsibilities to keep the ministry of the temple running. They could no longer serve as priests because of the sins they had committed, so they got busy serving in other ways.

I guess I’m just suggesting that, if your church fellowship feels led to take away a ministry you’ve participated in, don’t get mad and walk away. Find some other way to serve. Serving God is not about you, anyway.