The closest thing to being a waitress I have ever been is working at a Custard Shop. I made concretes and sundaes, baked pies and cake. I even refilled a cup of pop or two. But I was never a “server”, someone who waited tables and hoped the tips would make ends meet this week. This last Sunday I had an opportunity to serve at my church. Literally. I was serving lasagna, salad, and sweet tea; refilling drinks, clearing up used plates and bowls. I tried to be invisible and helpful at the same time. But is was fun. I was welcoming people to a church that I have grown to love. It didn’t bother me that I was cleaning up after people or that they may or may not recognize me later. I just wanted to help.
If you’ve ever read Mark 10 you would know that there are sub-sections of the chapter that describe certain moments the disciples had with Christ. Of those, there is one that caught my eye. Starting in Mark 35, James and John (the two brothers) come to Jesus and ask to be his left and right hand men. Jesus tells them that it isn’t possible because those spaces had already claimed.
Now while I don’t quite understand the significance of what Jesus meant, the next section did make sense to me:
Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Did Jesus just say we needed to be slaves? Hold up, I thought the great part about being a Christian is that you are protected and blessed by God on earth and that when you die you live in glory with Jesus and the angels…
But guess what? That’s not how this works at all. Remember that verse that goes something like this?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life”
Jesus came to love and what is one of the ways to show love? Serving.
Serving is not something that should be done with a grudging heart. If you are serving to gain than it is not truly serving. I volunteer at church at the guest services desk: I direct first time guests to fill out a slip of paper, tell them about refreshments and point them in the direction of the kid’s ministry if they have kiddos. My husband and I also recently volunteered to pray for people during worship. And occasionally help with serving people at Dinner with the Pastor. I don’t say this to brag about how I’m a great Christian. But to say that serving is an important part of the church.
At CTM we like to say, “Be the Church”. Church is not the building you meet in, but the people who inhabit the space. Serve in the building you call church and learn more about the people inside it. Welcome those around you with a smile and don’t be afraid of uncomfortable situations. So:
- Hold that crying baby in nursery
- Pass out service notes
- Direct cars to parking places
- Teach 1st graders bible verses
- Greet people with a smile
Be the Church.