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The very heart

In serving each other, we become free.

First Knight

Pressed to consider service from new angles recently. My job is being expanded/retooled to include coordinating our service in the city of Seattle—getting people connected and involved, developing relationships with service agencies, and creating a context for understanding service through the lens of the gospel. It's tremendously exciting and I love having the opportunity to face new challenges that are closer to my skill set.

Where those new angles particularly come in, however, is in my own life, personally and professionally. What does it look like to intentionally accept a low seat at the table? Or sometimes even no seat at all—just cleaning up the table after others have used it? Theoretically, there's a humble nobility in this. Practically, it feels uncomfortable. There's lots of language I could invoke to make me feel more justified in my discomfort, words like "passion," "leadership," "gifting," and so on. Such concepts shouldn't be dismissed, but they may not really get me off the hook. In the mixed bag that is my soul, there's plenty of pride, envy, greed, insecurity, and the like, all equally suspect for my unsettledness with that low seat.

Knowing this, my sense of justice and equity is best applied to advocacy for others, not myself. I have to trust someone else to be my Savior, and I have to trust that however He does this is for my good and the good of His Kingdom.

What does it mean to be faithful? I'm still trying to learn (while my flesh is still trying not to learn), and being uncomfortable doesn't necessarily mean I'm anywhere other than where God wants me to be. Do I honestly believe the truths I profess? Do I believe them deeply enough to keep wrapping a towel around my waist, regardless of anything around me? What if the only growth I can freely pursue in this season is that of simple, humble obedience? Will that be enough?

Comments

good post. questions and issues with which all of us in the ministry deal. i jokingly say that Christ only had to do this humble, servant, towel thing for three years not for 33 (so far). there are times the flesh wants to take over and demand recognition at the table but God's "still small voice" keeps reminding me that "his grace is sufficient".
by the way, do you know a friend of mine in the seattle area by the name of Roby Duke? He's a musician I've known for over 30 years and spent some time with in a band.
I don't know Roby yet, but Seattle can be a small, small world, so I wouldn't rule it out one day.

Thanks for your encouragement—it's good to be reminded of His promise. "Professional" ministry can have its own quirks and pecking orders. As one currently working primarily in administration (although my prior experiences are in education and counseling), I sometimes feel a further level of exclusion. Clearly, there are other things I could do elsewhere that are "more in line with my gifts" (and might be valued differently by others), but since I love serving where I am and who I serve, I don't really want to go anywhere else.

It could, of course, all be in my head, so I want to be careful not to simply assume that what I'm feeling is congruent with what others might think. Regardless, It's a dilemma born of blessing, and I'd do well to be thankful for those blessings even as I struggle with what it means to be a servant.
you can check out Roby's my space page at www.myspace.com/robyduke music and heare a few of his songs from various projects.

I'm blessed in that even though I serve in the administrative ministry area I still have my hands in the over-all ministries of the church because I supervise the ministerial staff and support staff. The Lord transitioned me, over a period of years, into this ministry position after serving the Body of Christ in a number of different churches as a Student, Senior Adult, Activities, Worship, Education, Administration Minister. I was even asked to serve as a facilities/property manager at one church! Ha! I loved it and learned a lot of things that helped me prepare for what I do now. I often wondered and prayed about what it was God was wanting me to do. I've always let Him define my ministry and consequently, I've experienced a wide variety of ministry opportunities that have uniquely prepared me for what I'm doing now.