WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 15TH, 2021
TOPIC: BE AVAILABLE TO WORK IN THE HOUSE OF GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Lord, I’ll go! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8 New Living Translation).
One of the qualities required to be an effective worker in the house of God is availability. This is very important. Work cannot be done without investing time. Church workers need time to pray, evangelize, clean the church, control traffic, usher, etc. Anyone who intends to serve in the house of God must be ready to create time for it. There is an opportunity cost involved.
There is no point going about with a title or saying you belong to a certain workers’ group without doing the work you’re expected to do. Some people in the church do this. They like to be called by their titles or to be associated with some workers’ groups, but fail to perform the corresponding responsibilities.
No leader should appoint into an office or allow someone to belong to a group who cannot create time for the work, no matter how attractive the other qualities the person possesses. Otherwise, the job will suffer. A pastor should avoid sentiments in appointing workers or constituting workers’ groups. He should consider only members who would make themselves available, those who would sacrifice time to serve.
In Exodus 18:24-26a, the Bible says, “Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. He chose capable men from all over Israel and made them judges over the people. They were put in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. These men were constantly available to administer justice” (New Living Translation).
There is a difference between being capable and being available. As seen in that scripture, Moses appointed capable men whom he gave assignments and “were constantly available to administer justice.” Constantly available! Suppose people brought cases to them but despite being capable, they were not available. But they were both capable and constantly available.
If the church workers are capable but not available, the work would suffer. Availability means that a worker is at his duty post at the time he is required to be there. It is frustrating for a pastor or church leader to have workers that he is not sure would be there at the expected time. There could be exceptional cases of absence but I am talking of something that occurs regularly. Church workers who are regularly not available are not dependable.
Suppose an entire group fails to do what is expected, the pastor would need to make an alternative arrangement. If some members disappoint, the pressure of work would be on the rest. If the assignment is something they could co-opt others to assist, they might have to do that so that the work does not suffer.
However, one of the reasons some people give for not coming forward to serve in the church is that the church activities take too much of their time such that other departments of their lives suffer. They do not have enough time for their families, enough time to invest in their career, enough time for their academics, including part-time studies, enough time for their businesses, etc.
One major reason for this is that usually, 20 per cent of the members of the church are doing 80 per cent of the work in line with the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Rule. The 20 per cent are overburdened. The 80/20 percentage does not have to be exactly that, mathematically.
Quality Management pioneer, Dr Joseph Juran, a Romanian born American Electrical Engineer, introduced the Pareto principle naming it after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian Economist, who in 1906, created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in Italy. He observed that 20 per cent of the population owned 80 per cent of the country’s land.
Dr Juran, in the 1940s, published an important discovery, the universal phenomenon he called “the vital few and the trivial many” and named it “Pareto Principle.” Basically, what the Pareto Principle means is that the majority of the outputs come from a minority of the inputs.
If we apply it to the church, it means that a few (20 per cent) of church members are vital while many (80 per cent) are trivial. No insult is meant. Church members either belong to the vital few (20 per cent) or the trivial many (80 per cent). In other words, 80 per cent of the output of the church comes from 20 per cent of the members.
Maybe some of the 80 per cent idle in the church are shying away from service because they fear the church would take too much of their time or they are not Kingdom-minded. This scenario must change. Pastors should be mindful not to keep their workers, especially volunteers (those not on salary in the church), too busy to the detriment of their families, businesses, academics, careers, personal development programmes, etc.
There have been cases where workers – paid and volunteers – resigned in frustration because they claimed the church work was hurting them. The more they were busy with church activities, the more they were dying spiritually!
Many may not have resigned but they are just doing the work grudgingly – they are disgruntled. That is not the right spirit in doing the work of God. His work must be done cheerfully; it is not slave labour. God loves a cheerful giver of money, time or other things (2 Corinthians 9:7). God does not reward those who serve Him grudgingly. He rewards faithful workers. We must serve the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2a), not with grumblings.
Pastors or Church leaders need to be sensitive to the fact that church life is not the only department in their members’ lives so they should understand the need for church workers to maintain a balance.
It is not the devil or persecution if a church worker is sacked in his place of work for neglecting his work or for declining productivity because of his commitment in the church. That itself is not a good testimony of his Christianity. He must give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and God what belongs to God!
I agree with Daniel Webster (1782-1852) that “Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.” Good Christians will invariably be good citizens. A good Christian should have the reputation of being a good staff, if not the best, in his office.
Indeed, Kingdom work calls for sacrifice, but a church worker should create time for his spouse and children. The church must build the home and not tear it down. The church must not hinder the career advancement, academic progression, etc. of its members and should not become the reason for anyone’s failure. Availability for church work should not mean being irresponsible at home, in school, in employment, etc.
Zeal without knowledge is dangerous; it will not profit believers. A Christian should serve his employer well and deserve to be paid his salary. “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Ephesians 6:7 New Living Translation).
Nevertheless, he should not neglect to work in the house of God. Isaiah 6:8 says, “Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Lord, I’ll go! Send me’” (New Living Translation). Will you make yourself available for work in the house of the Lord? Every child of God should. Do today. If you have made yourself available, don’t be tired of serving in the house of the Lord.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help more Christians all over the world to make themselves available for your work. Strengthen and encourage those currently working in the house of God to continue to serve the Lord with joy, not grudgingly. Cause all church workers to work with enthusiasm, as though they were working for the Lord rather than for people. Father, help me to be a faithful worker in Your house.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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