God Doesn’t Weigh Service

July 2, 2017

God Doesn’t Weigh Service

There was a young boy in a country village who, after a great struggle, reached the ministry. His helper in his days of study had been the village cobbler. The cobbler, like as many of his trade, was a man of wide reading and far thinking, and he had done much for the boy. In due time, the young man was licensed to preach. And on that day, the cobbler said to him: “It was always my desire to be a minister of the gospel, but the circumstances of my life made it impossible. But you are achieving what is closed to me. And I want you to promise me one thing- I want you to let me make and cobble your shoes--for nothing--and I want you to wear them in the pulpit when you preach, and then I’ll feel you are preaching the gospel I always wanted to preach standing in my shoes.”

Which man will God regard more highly? The cobbler or the preacher? If we look to our scripture reading, we will find the answer.

The passage we read today tells us that when disciples go out to share God’s word, those who are receptive and accept those disciples are receiving not only Jesus, but God. Those who welcome and help the disciple of Christ supply just as important a service to Him as the disciple who is sharing His word.  Whether we are helping to spread the good news by proclaiming it or by providing some type of support for the sharing of or demonstration of that news, we are serving God in equally valuable ways.  Jesus tells us: “For whoever gives a drink of water to the least of my disciples gives it to me.” To serve others out of the love of Christ and for Christ’s sake is to serve Jesus, to serve God Himself.

I have frequently encouraged the vocal sharing of our faith, highlighting that discipleship can be fraught with conflict, difficulty and hard choices and possible persecution. It can sound like a very daunting task! But, true discipleship doesn’t necessarily require shouting from rooftops, or pulpits, lighting people’s hearts on fire with the word. Discipleship isn’t always making bold statements or bringing the word of the Lord to the masses. Discipleship can be quite simply, showing the love of God by showing love and care to our neighbors. As it says in 1 Peter: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 

Just as there are many rooms in the mansion that Jesus is building for us in God’s Kingdom, there are many ways to serve that will ultimately put us into one of those rooms. Service to God is service to God whether it’s bold or it’s quiet, demonstrative or subtle. We can’t all be Biblical scholars, preachers or prophets.

Our Lord needs people not only to speak and testify for Him. He needs, just as much, people who will help those who do.  He needs people to post hymn numbers, organize covered dish suppers, write church press releases, rejuvenate the web site, maintain the church building, play the piano, sing hymns, prepare communion, start prayer chains, pray for the pastor and the church, prepare coffee hour, call a friend in need, hold the hand of someone suffering loss, give a child a cup of water or words of encouragement. He needs people who will invite people to church, make newcomers feel welcome and support the faith of those who are in church every week.  He needs us to be stewards of His grace through the use of the gifts He has given us. And because He needs the people who do everything BUT preach and prophesy just as much as He needs preachers and prophets, He values their service just as highly.

Whose work is more valuable to God, the prophet or the one who gives the prophet dinner; the preacher or the cobbler who made the shoes he preaches in? Neither is more valuable than the other. Every type of service that encourages the sharing of His word is equally valuable to Him. When we begin to think that our gifts and contributions to worship and sharing our faith are inconsequential or are not meaningful, we need to think again. Our abilities are God’s gift to us. The manner in which we use them to serve Him is our gift to God. Let’s let our love of Christ and desire to share His love inspire us to help each other serve Him within the walls of this church as well as in our communities.

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Norma Goff