The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory; so, I thought of writing of two of lessons I have learnt in my involvement in ministry in the last two years. I haven’t liked the lessons yet, but I am convinced of their high value. I mean that my attitudes are not as formed as they ought to be. It is also true that I am not aware of any of my attitudes that are perfect. Oh, how I long for that day of perfection. I have a bad habit of digressing.
In the Short-Term Experience in Ministry (STEM) program, one of these concepts was taught a lot. ‘The Ministry of Presence’. It mostly applied in the Christian Unions that do not ‘honor’ the ‘servants of God’. It was said that we were supposed to just be there. Be present. You don’t have to do anything. I confess that this happened to be a living strategy! It worked, ‘but… how can I ‘just sit’…? I am a preacher… with all this anointing…’ I thought at first. My friends know that I can have very itchy hands, always wanting to do something. The ministry of presence wasn’t my thing!
In the past 7 months, I have had to practice another kind of ministry that isn’t easy to carry. It is ‘more noble’ than the later though. The ministry of service. At some point I have thought that I could be ‘too equipped’ to ‘serve tables’, let alone clean them. This is when I noticed that I am in trouble. How can I be doing the most menial of jobs in God’s house? ‘I should be doing something greater,’ thought proud I. But I came to think, what after all is greater? Is it not faithfulness?
But why did these two means of service to God seem less important? Maybe it is because of an importance syndrome. A whole me, just coming for the sake of coming? Nah, nah! Everyone else can come for the sake of coming, not I. Someone else should clean the tables only, not I. Someone else should plant the flowers, someone else should mow the lawn, someone else … Then I will do the thinking and such kind of work… Importance, importance! A syndrome of pride.
But these moments reminded me that I am at most just like ‘least’ of servants. A dead-end servant. Before God, there isn’t a difference between the president and the street-sweeper. There almost always is a difference in their faithfulness. Menial ministry: presence, service et al. is important. C. S. Lewis says that the highest cannot stand without the lowest. I also think that it is at these menial jobs that God meets most of us. This is our humblest, where little if any attention is on us. This is working from the lowest, the best place to lift our eyes to Him.
In Luke 17:10 the Lord teaches that when you have done everything that you were told to do, you should say, ‘we are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’.
There is no menial ministry, only menial attitudes.