Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor of Love or Love of Labor

Most of us know a person who is always out there helping people. They are the first ones to show up at the work party at church. On cleaning day, they are cleaning everything in sight. And if there is a need in the community that can be remedied by hard work, they show up first to make sure they get their fair share.

I am not, by any means, trying to down grade these people. It is a wonderful thing to have a heart for service, but what about the rest of us. Could we possibly be the unwashed masses who never want to labor over some poor guys toilet because he can't do it himself?

People who are gifted with a heart for service are special. They don't mind toting the barge line or lift the bales of hay into the loft. In fact, some get their greatest pleasure out of a life of service. They possess a love of labor. In their case, labor is its own reward.

The rest of us are people who labor to labor. It is a chore to force ourselves to spend hours scrubbing toilets at the local shelter. We despise the mornings at church cleaning up after a teen weekend lock-in. It is a labor of love.

For those in the labor of love category, we generally feel bad by the long hours the labor party spends. They show us up. They makes us look bad for our pittance of labor we expend on those projects.

Fear not, however. We can invoke the widow's mite rule. It is not something we were gifted with and therefore, we are only expected to expend what God gave us. This means we do what we can with a cheerful heart and get out of the way of the real laborers.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

Well, no. How many of us would gladly accept a position of deacon in our church, knowing we are not going o do a good job at the labor involved with the task. These are the tasks of our deacons. As one might have noticed in our churches lately, the job of deacon has morphed into a cushy job where our deacons act more like ministerial staff than workers. But that was not the intention of the position of deacon.

Deacons need to be workers. They need to strive to keep the church on the path of physical health and wealth. (Note: not monetary wealth, but an abundance of riches, both in spirit and in life.) These are physical needs that must be resolved before a church can be healthy. When we, the unlabor people, fill those slots, we take away from the labor pool and leave the deacon board a mess.

Our churches today need to fill our deacon board with the people who love to do physical labor so that those of us who are the spiritual leaders can do the job we were built to do.

I have a special affection for those people who enjoy labor and are rewarded by their actions. I can sit and watch them work for hours on end, without even breaking a sweat. For those people, I have the utmost respect. Two salutes for the true deacons of our church.

Till next time.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very good reminder! I know two that are very humble and very hard working. They love to serve and never asked for their position as deacons nor have they tried to shove their "Deaconship" around.

Both are in their 70s and lives further away from the church than the other members, yet is always first there and always last to leave. One refuses to leave until the last person has left. We have to practically push him out the door! If it snows, chances are we have to go to the church to let them know it's not open that day! The people who live within a couple of miles find it harder to go to church than they who live 45 miles away!

That is why they are deacons!