Our third and final descriptor for the core value of Being Servants is:
We have said that we are called to be servants and that means we will serve our friend and Lord in whatever he tells us to do. When we have the heart of servants, our primary motivation is not to ‘discover our calling’, it is to serve our Master. It is not to pursue our ministry, but serve his purpose. Our desire, when our race is done, is to hear not well done good and faithful apostle, leader, musician, youth worker. It is simply a ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’
Once that core heart value is in place, we nevertheless know that God has scattered certain gifts and skills among us, and sown in our hearts certain dreams and callings. They matter to him and to us. He has done this purposely so that when we each get to bear the fruit of these seeds, we create something beautiful in the body of Christ. If we compete and strive with each other over our gifts and callings, our roles and positions, as so often happens in churches, we produce something far uglier. This accounts for much that we see of the beauty and the brokenness in the Body of Christ.
Those who have embraced the core value of Being Servants hold their gifts and dreams lightly. They even come to recognise that the seeds may have to fall to the ground and die if they are going to resurrect into something more. And they can and do resurrect. When they do, and when they are choreographed by the Spirit, the result is that the we all dance together beautifully:
He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.Eph.4:10-13 The Message
A key for getting this right is that we do not look only to our gifts and dreams but we look to those of others. We seek to celebrate and encourage what the other has, drawing the gold out of them. Where we can, we give them opportunities to grow in their gift, even if they stumble to begin with. Of course, that may lie outside our power because for many people their main calling is to something outside the gathered church, in the world. Historically, Christians have had too small an arena in which they have sought to be used by God. If we are all assuming we will discover our callings and realise our dreams within the gathered church, no wonder there is competition and rivalry. But for the sake of the kingdom we have been scattered into the world and we find ourselves realising our dream as we house the homeless, work among the overlooked, tend the sick, and as nurses, lawyers, teachers, actors, bus drivers, shopkeepers, famers and more. It is in the field of the world and not the barn of the church that most of us are sown. What we can do when we are gathered, though, is to celebrate all this seed that is being sown and the fruit that it is producing. Servants celebrate what they see in the other.
Jesus, thank you that you set the example of service. Thank you that from your throne you have scattered gifts upon us all. Help us to realise the gifts you have put within us and to use them with the hearts of servants as we flow together in order to build up your church and advance your kingdom. Amen.