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Chefs Don't Mop Floors! Serve According To Your Gifts.

February 3, 2017

 

"Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:2-4

In high school, I was in a trade school cooking competition at the state level. Everything went well and I was 4th place. During cleanup, I noticed there was a counter full of produce, which left a bunch of onion skins and dirt on the table. Everyone else was busy cleaning their own stations, so I went ahead and took care of it. One judge pulled me aside and told me I earned bonus points because I cleaned up a mess that nobody was assigned to clean up. That mess was left by the chef and the lesson learned that day was that chefs shouldn't need to clean up messes. So from that day forward, I made sure to take care of messes for the chef whenever I could.

Perhaps you find that arrogant, but I believe it's perfectly reasonable for a chef to make the cooks clean up their messes. I mean, chefs have to work hard to get where they are and their function and purpose is to run the kitchen. If they needed to clean up messes on their own, there would be no such thing as dishwashers.

The same applies with a church in a manner of speaking. Obviously, if the pastor spills his coffee on the office counter, he needs to clean it up himself. However, if a young man needs help sharing his faith, don't make him break down boxes at the food pantry for 6 months before you consider helping him.

It has happened to me before and I'm sure it's happened to you as well. You have a really great idea, you're ready to present it, if it goes through you'll be more than ready to deliver, and when you approach the leaders about it, they say, "Oh, yeah, we're going to need you to do more around here just to show us you're actually able to do it." What if your skill is evangelism, which is outside of church? You're then forced to either follow their rules and hope to be accepted or forget them and just keep working outside the church. Either way, this shouldn't be the case!

Why does that happen?

Some church leaders, in a sincere attempt to be wise about helping anyone, will try to test people by seeing if they're obedient and patient. Their line of thinking is, "Well, either he's up to it and will do well or he's not fit for it and he'll just leave. Either way, we don't need to worry about wasting our time helping this guy." It's good to give someone a small task to see if they'll be faithful to carry it out, but it should be done according to what they're requesting. For instance, if someone desires to learn to preach, don't make him clean toilets! Have him give the announcements or opening prayer. If someone's an excellent guitar player, don't make him pass out bulletins! Put him up there in the worship band. You get the idea right? Serving should be in proportion to a person's gifts.

Or they go the route of, "You need to do more things here in church to be seen by everybody. That way when I go before the board, they know who you are." This was said to me in a church of less than 80 people. Shame on those mysterious elders for not bothering to get to know me within the several months I attended that church! I mean, they were telling me to be visible when it wasn't common knowledge who the elders were, what does that tell you? I tried to follow their instructions for months only to realize I was spending no time at all on evangelism, but instead I was attempting to make myself seen by the church.

What happens as a result?

People treated like will get bitter and leave your church, and all their gifts end up somewhere else hopefully to be cultivated into something that will glorify God. That person could've been God's answer to your prayers for revival, and you wasted it by making him scrub toilets. Way to go! Now revival may still come, but you won't have a part in it because you obviously don't want it.

Worse yet, people might not get bitter and leave. Sometimes they'll follow your directions and do everything in their power just to be seen by the church. All the while their real work is being neglected, but they aren't worried about it because they're too busy making a show of themselves. If that's the case, congratulations! You've just trained up a generation of Pharisees and hypocrites! Oh sure, things will look good, but internally your fruit will rot.

What should be done about it?

People do need to be tested, but it should be proportional to their talents. Don't lock them up in the back hoping they'll just leave. Also, don't make evangelists forsake their work outside the church by doing irrelevant tasks inside the church to be seen. Seriously, the Gospel never would've gone anywhere if the original 12 apostles stayed put serving tables. So thank God that those guys had the good sense to delegate the work properly!

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Colossians 4:6

 

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