All That Glitters

A Servant’s Heart Is Worth More Than Gold

By Allen Harris
  • September 21, 2015

People are disgusting. That was my primary thought 30 minutes into a job that would ultimately take three hours. It was 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I wasn’t in bed. I wasn’t even at home. I was at church. On my hands and knees. Vacuuming, scrubbing, and drying every one of the 400 chairs in my church’s worship center. And it was gross.

My family was still new to this church. We’d spent the past year hiding on the back row of all the churches in our area trying to find the one that would instantly feel like home. During that year “in the desert,” we hadn’t gotten involved anywhere. I hadn’t had any church responsibilities in a while, and honestly, my ministry-service muscles were pretty weak from atrophy. Maybe you’ve been there. So when the 5:45 a.m. alarm on my nightstand thrust me into our church-wide “Deep Cleaning Day,” I was … less than enthusiastic.

But here’s the weird part. I had fun. I laughed over orange juice and coffee with church members I hadn’t met yet. Together, we declared war on every stain, cobweb, and dust bunny in sight. Others joined me in my struggle against two years worth of hair, grime, and a mountain of inexplicable glitter stuck to the worship center chairs. We came together as a church to serve, and it was beautiful.

I left church after a few hours totally energized. In fact, I spent the eight hours after that doing yard work that I’d been putting off for weeks! Looking back, I was shocked at the burst of energy that propelled me through the day. Where did the energy come from? How did I get so excited about doing chores that normally send me running for the hills?

And then it struck me: God shows up when His people are joined together doing work in His name. And when God shows up, amazing things happen! I had forgotten how energizing it is to do some heavy lifting alongside other brothers and sisters joined in one mind and spirit. We weren’t just working; we were working for the Lord—and that’s exciting!

Reading through the book of Romans later, I found the secret sauce to Deep Cleaning Day: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:10–11 NIV) I believe this is what enabled a small band of believers to change the world 2,000 years ago. They never lacked zeal. They always kept their spiritual fervor. They worked long and hard, but they did it together, and they did it for the Lord. And that continued act of service kept them fueled and ready to do the impossible.

Thank you, Deep Cleaning Day, for reminding me that energy doesn’t necessarily come from Saturday afternoon naps. Sometimes it comes from a long day of hard work. Sometimes it comes from the excitement of serving.

But seriously, people. Stop wearing glitter to church.

Dr. Stanley teaches there’s no greater example of self-sacrifice and humility than Jesus Christ in his message, “A Servant’s Heart.”

Related Topics:  Christian Fellowship  |  Community  |  Service

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10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

1 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?

3 Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE."

4 But what is the divine response to him? I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL."

5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.

6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;

8 just as it is written, GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY."

9 And David says, LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.

10 LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER."

11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.

12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!

13 But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,

14 if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.

15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,

18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.

19 You will say then, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."

20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;

21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.

22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;

26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB."

27 THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;

29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,

31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.

32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR?

35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN?

36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

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