Kevin was minister of education in a church I served. He’d often say pastors and musicians get accolades after worship services, such as “Thanks for the wonderful sermon,” and “Thanks for the beautiful music.” But in contrast, church members would tell Kevin which toilets needed repairing.
I thought about Kevin a few weeks ago when a lady stopped me before a mid-week service to tell me there was a wad of paper in a toilet I needed to check. I promptly forgot and went on to other things, and then a second lady approached me with the same news. In my present mission station, I don’t have a minister of education to call when the toilets need repair. Before I could check it, one of the ladies fished the paper out of the toilet herself and proudly came to tell me she’d been successful. I thanked her and laughingly asked if she’d call the pastor if this happened at home!
One doesn’t have to be an ordained preacher or a singer to serve God. All Christians are called to serve in some unique way. Martin Luther said, “A milk maid can milk cows to the glory of God.”
I think of my dad who loved his church, but never felt he could teach or sing. He turned down deacon nominations every year believing himself unworthy of the honor. But he spent many afternoons at the church replacing glass, repairing toilets and doing minor electrical repairs. His service was necessary.
I think of a lady in another church who had an unelected, yet important, job. She policed the sanctuary after the morning worship by discarding trash and chewing gum wrappers (!), straightening hymnals and saving reusable bulletins. She said, “I love to do it and I believe God is pleased.” Her service was necessary.
Countless others over the years have had glad and generous hearts to contribute to God’s work. They have given their money to support the work of the gospel, and they’ve given their time to staff the benevolent ministries of their church. I’ve frequently noted that most ministry in the church isn’t done in the spotlight. The pastor and musicians are in the spotlight. But most ministry is done in the shadows. It’s done in love because there’s a need, and the laborers aren’t looking for public acclaim.
The ancient prophet Isaiah is honored among the prophets because he wasn’t a reluctant servant of the Lord. He didn’t run from the call of God like Jonah or complain like Jeremiah. He volunteered for service. “Here am I, Lord. Send me,” he said (Isaiah 6: 8).
Every Christian ought to follow Isaiah’s example and say, “Me too, Lord.”