Service Starts Small

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When we think of service, many things can come to mind. For some, it carries a disgruntled connotation. For others, there is no greater joy than to labor for a just cause. However, it is likely that we all fall somewhere in the middle. It is fair to say that we are not pouring ourselves out as a drink offering, like Paul did to the service of the Church. (Phil. 2:17) In fact, I am not even saying that we are called to do that, as members of the body contain different skills, abilities, and capacities. (1 Cor. 12:14-20) However, what I am saying is that there is a role for each of us and regardless of your previous perspective pertaining to service, I do believe there is a way for each church member to optimize their service to the church. Think of it this way, we are all called to run the race set before us and to look to Christ as the founder and perfecter of our faith. Christ endured the cross with joy because of the hope that was set before Him. (Hew. 12:1-2) So too do we run our race that is set before us, following His example, and looking towards Christ, in whom we hope. But imagine this: imagine that you were going to run a marathon.
Regardless of if you are a runner in the physical sense, you are one in the spiritual sense and I think we all would agree that if you are going to run a marathon, you do not start by running 26.2 miles on day one. In the same manner that children need spiritual milk, not meat; meaning that we do not expect a recent convert (a spiritual child) to get up next Sunday and exposit Romans 8, we all need first the elementary principles of the faith and then to move on to maturity. (Heb. 5:13-14) To start training, you are not going to run the entirety of the race the first day, trying to do so would be foolish. You are going to break your goal down into smaller chunks that allow for constant progress over time. In the same way we must do this physically, we must also do so spiritually.
So, what does all this have to do with service? In the same manner Paul’s ministry did not begin by being poured out, all at once, we too must start even smaller than our pride might want us to. We might not be able to run a mile yet, just like we all might not be able to teach or run the Sunday morning live stream yet, but we must start by taking incremental steps towards our goal, always remembering the importance of each step, but more importantly looking towards Him who has finished the race. It might seem miniscule to clean the wet countertops after you leave the church restroom, ask an aging saint to pull their car around in the wintertime, or pick up a piece of trash as you walk into church, but we must remember it is foolish pride keeps us from, not only executing the small things, but can altogether prevent us from altogether accomplishing the larger “more important” forms of service. In the same way it is highly unlikely that someone will be able to run a marathon without training, so too is it unlikely someone will joyfully pour themselves out in service to God, their family, Church, and community if they view smaller tasks as ultimately un-important or beneath them.
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? (1 Cor. 12:17) We might not all be preachers or teachers. We might not all have the physical ability to cut down trees on church workdays or the space in our homes to host a small group. And even fewer of us will sell all our possessions to become missionaries. But if you’re a hand to the local church, please do not desire to be a foot. We desperately need you to be a hand! This starts by embracing your role cheerfully and not considering any task insignificant or unworthy of your service. Regardless of whether you have enjoyed serving or not serving in the past, you will likely be surprised as to how much practicing the small, overlooked tasks (that are deeply meaningful) will begin to compound over time for the kingdom of Christ. (Matt. 13:31-32) Finally, church, I leave you with the words of Paul: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:17)
Also see: 1 Peter 4:9-11, Mark 10:45, Isaiah 58:10, Mark 9:35, John 12:26, Hebrews 6:10, Romans 12:1
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