“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it’s because I’m afraid and he gives me courage.” –Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
One of the privileges of my role at Mars Hill Ballard is to get to see some of the things most other attendees here don’t. There are little moments of encouragement that help put some wind in my sails from time to time. While there are epic stories of life change, there are also subtle acts of service that are far less obvious and call no attention to themselves and I’d like to share one of those.
Last week was a busy one. I have seen many people come and go through the building preparing for Ephesians series and a variety of other things happening, seemingly simultaneously. I was standing in the family foyer on Thursday at 4 p.m. talking to a volunteer when I saw a family of four walk through the door and back into the Kids Ministry area. They said nothing to anyone, just walked back there like they knew what they were doing. I got distracted for about 30 minutes with other things, but eventually remembered to ask someone, “Who was that family that went back there?” The person told me that they are just members of Ballard who come every Thursday at 4 to singlehandedly clean the whole Kids Ministry area in preparation for Sunday.
I was floored. How had this service escaped my radar?! I ran back to find them and say thanks. When I got there, they turned off their vacuum cleaners for about 30 seconds to say, “Oh, you’re welcome,” and then went right back to work.As I walked back out to the foyer, I felt that the wind they had put in my sails at that moment was more valuable to me than the actual cleaning they were doing.
I also felt a twinge of conviction. How long had I wasted not serving the church for years when I was fully capable? How many times have I said, “Oh, I can’t serve now because I have little kids”? They did as well, and figured out a way to serve as a family. How often had I felt like, “Well, I’ll wait till someone tells me where to serve”? They took initiative and found a need. How many times did I want to serve in a way that was more obvious? Less repetitive? More to my “skills”? They are meeting a need, and the whole church benefits.
This family is demonstrating exactly what Paul is writing about in Titus 3: the people of the church are to do good works, not so that they’d be saved, but in response to Jesus, who “according to his own mercy,” justified us by his generous grace to us on his cross. This family’s service is a model of gratitude and obedience to Christ.
“I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. . . . And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:8, 14
As we enter a new season at Mars Hill Ballard, I’m grateful for families like this one.
Wanna serve at your local Mars Hill church? Go here, find your local church in the drop-down menu, and then click the “Get Connected” button.