Saturday, December 16, 2006

Opening Your Spiritual Gifts (Day 14)

Servanthood is the gift of those people behind-the-scenes in the Church who pitch in to make ministries effective, never calling attention to themselves.

I’ve been a Cincinnati Reds fan since I was fifteen. So, you can imagine how pleased I was with their 2006 season. After years of frustration, I saw the new ownership make a series of trades that caused the Reds to be more competitive. The Reds have a lot of good players. But if I were asked to pick the team’s most valuable player, it would be a guy who’s never established himself at one position or a set place in the offensive line-up and who probably isn’t strong enough to play a full 162-game schedule. My choice for the Reds 2006 MVP would be a utility player named Ryan Freel.

Actually, the whole world depends on “utility players,” people whose diligent daily efforts make our human endeavors work: the clerk at the department store, the school custodian, the administrative assistant, the parent who serves as room mother or room father, the middle school trip chaperone, the garbage collector. They aren’t the grand visionaries who plot or plan the project; they’re the ones who make it go. In the Church, the utility players are those who possess the gift of servanthood.

An old saying, wrongly attributed to Abraham Lincoln, observes, “God must have loved the common people. He made so many of them.” Whoever first said that may have meant it as a backhanded compliment. But servanthood, seemingly the most common of attributes, is actually the quality Jesus Christ most values in His people. To demonstrate how important servanthood is, remember that on the night of His betrayal and arrest, Jesus served His disciples, washing and toweling down their filthy feet (John 13). Jesus also said that in His Kingdom, “the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16).

All Christians are called to be servants, of course. But some possess a special passion and ability to help out wherever needed. They have the gift of servanthood. They don’t have the special talents we might associate with the other gifts. But these “utility players” make the Church successful. They’re people like Charlie, someone you’ve heard me talk about before. A painter by trade, Charlie was never president of our home church. He never led the education program. But he filled in and assisted in dozens of ways, from helping re-roof the building to providing transportation for our youth activities. Others may get more notoriety, but nobody does more to advance the mission of the Church than those quiet, unassuming Christians to whom God has given the gift of servanthood.

Servanthood is the gift of those people behind-the-scenes in the Church who pitch in to make ministries effective, never calling attention to themselves.

Bible Passage to Ponder: “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11)


Unknown said...

I just wanted to stop by and say "Merry Christmas" and thank you for your sane, philosophical, yet practical approach. I enjoy it very much.

Mark Daniels said...

You have a merry Christmas as well and thank you for your kind, supportive words.

Blessings in Christ,