Monday, March 16, 2009

Power To Serve

The last time I saw her she was in intensive care. She had tubes and wires running in and out of her connecting her to monitors and IV poles. She was so sedated she barely responded to her mom’s voice. There was still some uncertainty about how successful the surgery had been – it might be some weeks before we really know. Her mom was worn out from worry, worn out from the agony of waiting and hoping and wishing her baby girl was home safe and sound and healthy; worn out from no sleep and from doting over sips of water and pain medicine and warm covers and the doctor’s next visit. The whole scene was exhausting and heartbreaking.
I was surprised when I saw this mom at church a week later on Wednesday night. “How’s your baby girl?” I asked. Mom said “A little better. She came home yesterday. She’s back in PeeWeeVille tonight.” That blew my mind. PeeWeeVille is what Clear Creek Community Church calls its ministry to pre-kindergarten age children. This teenage girl, fresh off brain surgery, fresh out of intensive care, fresh out of the hospital was serving me, serving us, serving the people of CCCC by caring for and teaching children in PeeWeeVille so the parents, and the rest of us, could gather and focus on Scripture and praising God.
I have wondered since that conversation if I even know how to appreciate that teenager enough. I wonder if I really appreciate how God shows me to my face how much love and generosity and faith he preserves among his people. I wonder if I appreciate how many times and in how many ways other people serve me, serve us, in the church when I have no idea how challenging, distracting, and downright painful their week has been.
It really made me wonder why that young lady was so determined to serve in PeeWeeVille when so many people, the vast majority of people, who attend CCCC don’t serve the church anywhere, ever. Is it because they don’t know their help is needed? Is it because they don’t think they are able? Is it because their weeks are too hard?
I don’t think it is any of that. I think it is because our weeks are so easy, our problems so minor, our physical and material needs so trivial and so well met that our comfort has blinded us to much of anything outside our own little world. We have so insulated ourselves from need we seldom consider or relate to the needs of others. It is the powerful grip of comfort that blinds us to our need for the gospel and the workings of the gospel in our lives.
The powerful thing about serving is its power to free us from our self centeredness and to wake us up to the needs of others. What’s weird is that God often uses the power of need in our lives to do the same thing. I am grateful for a sick teenager whose heart for God, and for us, is bigger than her own need.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1-4