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.