thrones

Posted: January 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

If you want to sit on thrones, you’d better be ready to clean them.  This was G’s awesome interpretation of the scripture we were discussing with friends from church earlier this week.  It was so good that I had to stop and write it down.  What a great picture of the upside-down leadership training Jesus gave while He was with the disciples.  I can’t be the only person whose brain automatically translates “cleaning thrones” to a toilet job, right?

Matthew 20:25-28  But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Luke 20:25-27   Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

Mark 9:33-35  After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?”  But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.  He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

A friend who liked to joke that she “just wanted to clean toilets for Jesus” prodded me regularly to join our church’s cleaning team; once I had G at my side and wasn’t overwhelmed at the prospect of doing it on my own, I was happy to sign on (props to my single friends on the same team who don’t use being husband-less as an excuse not to serve – they are better folks than me.)

Serving in that capacity feels more right to me than the path I took years before at another church.  As leader of the prayer team, I always arrived extra early on Sunday mornings to get ready for the team coming (we prayed through the early service before attending the later one), and often I would encounter my pastor there, in his suit and shiny shoes, with a mop and bucket, cleaning bathrooms.  “Pastor John!”  I’d admonish him, “You shouldn’t have to be cleaning bathrooms on Sunday mornings!”

He’d always just grin and say something like, “I’m getting the house of God ready for the best people I know!”  And I’d move on, “too busy” with what I was doing to make time for grabbing the mop out of his hand.  Every single time it happened, I thought it should be different, but somehow I always thought to admonish him and never thought to just get busy serving – it was always something that, in my mind, “Somebody should take care of.”  A definite measure of my (lack of) spiritual maturity at the time.

Serving in church is important.  We enter in on a whole different level when we serve than when we just cruise by to take in the show and then get on with our lives.  It isn’t possible to get all the things we can get from church and be all the things we can be to the church by only attending.

But if we are ONLY serving in church – well, that seems like missing the point.  Everywhere, all the time, the need for service surrounds us.  People need help.  People need encouragement.  People need rides.  People need to feel seen and heard.  People need someone to help them learn basic stuff for navigating life, from relationships to work to how to manage money.  Gritty jobs need to get done.

We who claim Christ should be known for serving – it should be the first thing that comes to mind when others think of us.  Not, “What is their stance on *insert hot button issue topic here*?”  We should be known as people who can be relied on to step up without even having been asked, and without needing special recognition or titles for doing so.  After all, notice in those verses above – it’s Christ we are emulating.  He wasn’t really a “that’s not my job” kind of guy, was He?

If you want to sit on thrones, you’d better be ready to clean them.  The funny thing about this precept is that I do NOT aspire to leadership (“thrones”) – I basically never hunger to be in charge of anything – but it still speaks to me as a directive, not a suggestion.  The One I trust and follow set His example…if I’m not following suit…why not?  For sure I’ve experienced the way the precept works – as I’ve served the best I knew how, I’ve been chosen for one leadership role after another over a long span of years.  I sought none of those roles, but they always find me, and then I get to decide each time that leading is the service that God is asking of me – so what other answer is there to give than yes?

What throne is He calling YOU to clean?

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