“After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.” – 1st Corinthians 3:5-9
I am sitting here today thanking God that I am so non-essential at my workplace. I know that sounds strange. But here is the deal. I work for a church. And, unfortunately, in many cases I have seen ministry heads build empires around their own self-importance. I have seen many, both inside church and outside, work for their own glory instead of God’s. I have seen religious institutions built with no thought to the lost, or the needy – only to the appearance of the structure.
One of my greatest fears is that, one day, I will lose sight of my calling and make it all about me. My biggest enemy is pride, and always will be. And, if I am not intentional every day in my prayer life, I could easily fall into that trap. I could find myself tossing aside the guidance of the Spirit and moving in my own direction. And while I could probably still be pretty efficient at my job, I never want to explain that situation to God when I meet Him face-o-face. There is always a reckoning for self-promoters.
So, as I look around my church today, I am relieved. I am expendable. Nothing absolutely depends on me. If I were not here tomorrow, church would go on. Everything essential would get done. Because we are the body of Christ together. And while everyone has a part to play, we work collectively. I see staff members and volunteers of great quality – all working together. I see people being fulfilled in their service to the kingdom in a myriad of ways. I see servants’ hearts aplenty here. And the Spirit of God is at work among us.
And I am relieved. As much as sometimes we want to be “in charge,” it is a heavy burden to carry all by yourself. If you always feel as if everything depends on you, the weight of such an attitude can over come you. And what if you make a mistake? I don’t know about your world, but in the world I used to live in, making a mistake was like death. Mistakes made you worthless and unnecessary. I lived in a world that didn’t know anything about grace.
So I am thankful for where I work and for the realization that it doesn’t all depend on me. I have a very small part to play here. With God’s grace, I will do it well. But if I don’t, then God will raise someone else up to serve His purposes. It is nice to rely on His sufficiency rather than my own.
But the best part of all is that I get to witness all the magnificent things God is doing through our whole congregation. And instead of being results driven, I can now be free to be relationship driven, and grace driven, and joy driven. I am at peace, regardless of what happens today or tomorrow. And this is a wonderful place to be.
Glory to God in the highest, for He holds us all in His victorious right hand.