Guest Blogger: Jeremy Statton

September 16, 2011

Hey everyone, time for another guest post.  Today, we’ve got Jeremy Statton, pictured left (not the baby).  He’s a freaking orthopedic surgeon, and a great guy with a post you’re going to love.  Check it out, then head over to Jeremy’s blog.

My church is largely made up of young married couples.  They bring an incredible amount of energy to a young church plant.  Few things are more beautiful than seeing these young adults meet Jesus.

They present two unique problems, however.  One is that young couples like to make babies, and all these babies make a mess.  The second is that these young families have very little disposable income.  We have lots of kids running around wreaking havoc, but are unable to afford to pay anyone to clean it up.  And then I get to volunteer to clean.

I love the idea of service. I imagine myself providing clean water to poor, thirsty children in Africa, or storming into a brothel in Indonesia, freeing teenage girls, or receiving a humnaitarian award in a luxurious hotel in New York where I receive a fifteen minute standing ovation.

I do not, however, see myself mopping the pee stains left on the bathroom floor at church.  I want to serve, but I want it to require less work…and certainly less urine.

Seeking the Praise of Men

As I grumble and complain about finding myself using my surgeon-trained hands to vaccuum left over Cheerios and Goldfish crackers from Sunday School classrooms, I suddenly remember a story from the book of Acts.

In Act 5, a couple named Ananias and Saphira did something that most people and churches would applaud.  They sold a piece of land that they owned and then gave most of the money to the church.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end with their gift of service. The problem is that they only gave most of the money.  Having lied about the true amount, God killed them for it.

I have often wondered why God gave them such a harsh punishment.  Clearly the death penalty is not God’s universal punishment for lying, otherwise we would all be dead.  Perhaps God woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day, or maybe there was something deeper.

The lie exposed their true reason for giving.

They gave the money in order to be praised by Peter and the apostles.  They chose to serve and to give because they wanted to look good in front of the entire church.

God Does Not Need You

In order to accomplish his work, God does not need us.  He does not need our money, our efforts, our six-pack abs, or our cleaning skills.  Although pee stains don’t just mop themselves, our God is not impressed with our acts of service.

I believe in doing good works.  I love the idea of helping those that are in need and giving to the poor.  They do need our help.  But we must ask ourselves: why do we serve?

Do we work because we love God or because we love praise?

The beautiful part of being motivated out of a love for God is that it gives us true freedom to serve.  We will be free from anxiety about the outcome of our efforts. We will be free from fearing the conflict from our opposition.  We will be free from being motivated for the praise of men.  We will be free from the fear of the potential cost.

I need to confess that my responsibility was to vacuum the upstairs at church this week and I probably missed some spots.  I do not want anyone to have a false impression of how much I gave just in case the wrong side of the bed theory is accurate.

But I pray that the parts that I covered were done out of a love for God and my fellow church goers.

I also have to confess that my wife cleaned all of the toilets.

Okay, tell us all about the one thing you don’t want to have to do for Jesus!  Then go see what else Jeremy has to say at his blog.

20 responses to Guest Blogger: Jeremy Statton

  1. Wow, Matt. Don’t ask a simple question, okay? The one thing I don’t want to do for Jesus… well, it seems that getting out of bed early on a Sunday morning is the kicker. Shopping churches that have services at 11:30am or later gives me few to choose from. Once I’m there, getting me to help with things isn’t that hard. I enjoy it. I wish there was a Night Owl Church. I would be on every committee they had and serve my heart out. Oh, well, I don’t want to be on the Casserole Committee (I can’t cook). So I guess that is two things, isn’t it?

  2. Oh, and how did I get here earlier than John?

  3. Imagine us complaining that we have to clean up in a nice air conditioned building and upon leaving we have food waiting for us at a restaurant or at home in our pantries. #Jesusjuke

    Thanks, Jeremy

  4. Do you realize what a dangerous question you are asking us to answer????? It seems to me that whenever we say “I can never imagine doing ___ for God,” it gives Him ideas ;-).

    I said: I can never imagine myself happy in any other church and he went and moved me and my family 1800 miles away, though I am glad that it was ONLY 1800 miles away.

    My husband said: I can’t imagine myself being the father of four children and boom, a month later I was pregnant with our fourth child. He also said, “I don’t ever want to work in the Kid’s Ministry/Children’s church/whatever the new name for where kids gather in church and God had him work with 1st graders for a year. He said, “I don’t want to be in church leadership and God eventually led him to be an elder in our old church and then is moving us in a leadership position in a start up church.

    So pardon me, but I will refrain from sharing this time 😀

    • Ha! I’m sure God needs a lot of help getting ideas :)

    • Wow, does that sound familiar! I couldn’t imagine living far from an ocean, and God moved us to Colorado. My husband said he’d never work with computers for a living, and God moved him into full time ministry–helping ministries with complex technical issues. He said he didn’t want to travel away from his family, and God had him going to meetings and speaking at conferences in places like Guatemala and India and Norway and South Africa.

      These days, it’s more along the lines of, “Well, if I had my choice, I’d RATHER not ….” and “If it works out and is part of God’s plan, I personally would LIKE to….”

  5. Thanks for the blog, Jeremy.

    I guess my take on service is this, there is a lot to be done, but some times I feel like it is to support good ideas and not God ideas. I only have time for obedience and the good works that Lord has set before me; not good looking works.

    In the 35+ years I have been a Christian I have had the privilege of doing all sorts of things from bathrooms to building a second floor on a guys house, as well as missions to foreign countries. If God is there, I want to do it! I don’t need my name in the bulletin or a public thank you from the pastor. In fact I would prefer to just do my “job” quietly while I rock out to DC Talk or Anberlin.

    I confess my favorite thing to do is secret giving. I love sending bank checks with no return address to people God puts on my heart. I love to leave gifts for others with a simple note, “Love Jesus.” I know there are a lot of dirty jobs, but Mike Rowe can do those for now.

  6. “young couples like to make babies” <- this cracked me up.

    So let me get this straight, you're a doctor AND a church planter with a global vision for ministry? Oh AND you clean up kid pee?

    A few weeks ago a toilet in the MENS bathroom was clogged. I swear the Devil himself dropped a deuce in there. It was bad. I really DID NOT want to clean it up, but we couldn't find a plunger anywhere (oh darn). I would have done it because our senior pastor was the one who discovered it, but was very glad to dodge that bullet.

  7. What’s the deal with Christians who preach on the platform about being faithful in the small things and always back that up with a story about how they used to clean toilets? Personally its a conspiracy me thinks.

    From personal experience, when someone comes up to me and tell me I faithful it means that they want me to pack up the chairs. I would love to turn the tables on people and say it back to their faces.

    I’ve come to realize that Being Faithful means slave labor.

    • We probably should’ve been clued in on the slave labor part when Paul repeatedly called himself a “slave of Jesus Christ.” He probably wasn’t just sitting around in a Roman prison. He was stacking tables, cleaning toilets and whatnot.

  8. I think the whole serving my enemies thing is the main one I tend to avoid. Doing good to those who do evil to you just does not appeal to me. Wish I was a better Christian about it, but I am not right now.

  9. Hmm, you’ve given me an idea…(telling God what you can never imagine and then BOOM! He brings it on…)
    I can NEVER imagine our house in Wyoming selling, and God moving us to another state. I can NEVER imagine my 18 y.o.’s heart returning with ferver to the LORD. I can NEVER imagine me finding a job that uses my gifts and abilitlies, and being successful at it. I can never imagine finding a room full of extroverts that are looking for a new member of the “life’s a party, bring the punch!”