This weekend was huge in our church. We re-dedicated our building to God’s service as our big remodeling project comes to a close. We called it A Celebration of God’s Faithfulness. Former pastors returned to be a part of the celebration, former members and friends and family came home to witness a new beginning, a continuing of the work that God started 116 years ago, and a fresh reminder of what our mission really is right here on our corner of our small town.
Pastor Jimmy Draper, President Emeritus of Lifeway, even came to deliver our celebration message. And, he was wonderful. It was a great day for our church family.
But, all afternoon I’ve been just sitting here marveling at how beautiful the church really is. I’m not even talking about the newly beautified building, although it looks amazing. I’m talking about the Body of Christ. The individuals who work together to carry out the mission of sharing the Gospel with a lost and dying world. The Body of Christ needs its Jimmy Drapers. And its other pastors, musicians, great leaders, great teachers. It needs the speakers, the singers, the planners and the idea people.
But, this weekend I was struck like never before by how much the church needs other types, too. It needs the nursery workers. It needs the cooks. The quiet, smiling watchers who look for needs they can fulfill. It needs the table wipers. The nose wipers. The toilet cleaners. The church needs the people who will remember to bring the plants inside when it’s going to get cold overnight. It needs the list-makers. It needs the huggers and the handy men and the hand holders.
In fact, all of these people and countless others are essential to the church. They are the real heartbeat of it. They are what make things go, what make people feel special and welcomed, what make the children feel loved and safe and maybe just a little spoiled. These people, these ceaseless title-less workers, they are the very heart and soul of the church.
As I looked around this weekend, I saw them everywhere. And, they blessed me.
I’ve known many people in church life who feel invisible. Who work endlessly with little or no thanks. Who feel that they have no talent or ability to offer to the Lord. But, please let me assure you, there are days when it hits those around you just like a lightning bolt: you are doing some of the most important work of the church. Because only a few can preach. Only a handful can teach. And, really only some can play a beautiful piano piece or belt out a worship song on stage. But, you who are never on a stage, you who are always in the kitchen, on the floor loving on babies, you who are replacing lightbulbs and mowing the church lawn, you who are simply offering smiles and hugs and words of encouragement–you are doing kingdom work. You are the reason that a church can survive out on the plains of West Texas for 116 years.
Pastors come and go, following God’s leadership. Musicians trade places and move on and move away, according to their calling. But, you. You servants who stay planted in the thankless jobs for a lifetime. You are the pillars on which a healthy church is built. And, God sees you. Thank you for all you do. Please know that pastors and their families rely on you more than you could ever realize.
We recognize your love for God and His church. What you do matters, and we appreciate the sacrifices that you make in order to follow God’s direction in your life. Even if it seems like no one ever notices your quiet faithfulness, we do. And, we love you for it.