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05 April 2009

The Privilege of Servanthood

I'm going to have the privilege of preaching at Wall Highway on April 26 when our senior pastor is out of town. I've been asking God to show me what He wants me to speak about to His people and those who don't know Him.

I'm leaning toward the thing that C. S. Lewis wrote about in chapter 21 of The Screwtape Letters -- the fact that we regard our time as our own, and consider it an affront to us if someone does something that robs us of "our" time or inconveniences us.

The funny thing is that it hit me last night as I wearily got home after our second night of revival services that I've been bordering on being guilty of that sentiment the past couple of weeks. I've had numerous 13-16-hour "work" days, and I've thought, "I need a break." I'm not stressed out, I haven't been neglecting my family, and nothing's wrong other than the fact that I'm physically tired. But I've been tempted to get into "I pity myself" mode -- that place where I tell myself that I deserve some tangible reward or some return for all my hard work.

Last night it dawned on me that I've had the privilege of spending myself of serving my Master more than usual; I'm actually allowed to devote my life to speaking into the lives of many, many people for the purpose of showcasing God's mercy, His grace, His forgiveness, and the fantastic joy that comes from knowing Him and serving Him. If I want to tell people about Christ, help little old ladies across the road, or sit and pray for 48 hours straight, no one will stop me -- I have the liberty and freedom to do that. This can't be said of people in many places on earth.

With that realization, I'm all the more fired up and determined to make use of that great privilege. This is what I want to do! The reward for serving God is knowing that I have the great privilege of serving God. I hope that you'll see the same opportunity in your daily routine.


Preston N said...

Dean - not to change the subject from your post here but I find your statement here very interesting. you said:

"I wearily got home after our second night of revival services"

I grew up in churches that had "revival services" once a year. Sadly, at least in most cases, revival wasn't what happened, but usually just a typical church service happening on a different night than Sunday or Wednesday. Yes the preaching may have been a little more "firey" than usually, but revival from a biblical and historical sense was not what happened.

I always find it interesting when churches announce it is going to have a "revival"? So does this mean the church decides when revival is to break out? Does this mean a church can be so bold as to say "We want (or demand) God show up and have revival breakout? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this maybe in a separate post as to what you or WHC thinks revival really is.

Again, not to take away from this post so sorry for the slight diversion.

Dean Lusk said...

I am totally on the same page, Preston.

If I weren't on an iPhone, I would copy and paste an e-mail I sent to our fellowship on Friday. I will have to wait until I get home.

I don't really like the semantics of "revival" any more than I like the imagery that the word "crusade" carries.

Dean Lusk said...

There we go. Posted it.

Anonymous said...

Dean, Yesterday you mentioned to the choir about 'Selling ourselves out to Christ' and serve in other areas than just singing. And then I hear that wonderful testimony last night (I don't know her name); this is what I need and this is what I think the choir needs to improve on - To love others as ourselves. What was it that made you weary? Your duties as the worship pastor, leading practice for the Praise Team and Choir; maybe it could have been all of the additional duties that go unnoticed by the congregation. Which is all be good and needed. But I would venture to say that one thing that does not weary you is seeing God at work in the lives of people around you - in fact this has a way of reviving you like no other.

So, what is our privilege? To join in the work of God and love people.


Dean Lusk said...


I didn't get my whole point completed at rehearsal last night, but by no means did I intend to imply that I was weary -- either at rehearsal or by the end of this post. The privileges you mention about my being able to lead a team and the choir and do behind-the-scenes tasks are things that God has been mind-bogglingly gracious enough to let me do. I am humbled and grateful for those opportunities (though I sometimes lose that perspective!).

There's certainly no blanket statement that could be made about our choir, since you name that particular group. You and a number of others are actively involved not in just doing "stuff," but in living out the love of Christ.

My question was one that only individuals can answer: is each of us living out a life that is totally surrendered (I probably wouldn't want to say "sold out" -- that implies getting something in return) to Christ?

Preston N said...

Not being in ministry maybe I can't relate to this somehow, but for some odd reason I hear this more and more from those in ministry these days. I visit several other ministry leaders blog and I must say there is a general theme of "I am just totally burned out, exhausted, fed up, etc" (interestingly enough ministry burnout is one of the leading causes for minister to leave the church today). However, when these folks are pressed as to why they're burned out I am not so surprised as to the reason. 90% of the time its not the world pressing in on them (as it seemed to be the case in Paul's day), but the very church the ministers are trying to serve!

For me I never seemed to get the sense that Paul was getting burned out as a result of the church working against him. What I do get a sense of is that Paul had every excuse to be burned out because of the persecution of the world, not the church.

What causes me concern is I see ministers own worst enemy is not the world (as it should be) - but the very church they serve! The bigger questions needs to be asked is - Why? What's wrong with this picture? Granted, Paul faced many issues in the early church, but never do I get the sense they were working directly against him - yes they had some messed up theology - but that is the very role of a teacher or leader is to help and guide members to grow past this. For me I see Judaizers, Gnostic's, Roman Government, Jewish Leaders, etc more of a problem for Paul's and the other disciples and not the church itself.

Sadly, most ministers/staff have come to accept that this is just part of "God's will" or the status quo. Some even come to think that this is just the "devil" tempting them or working against them. Some take on a martyr like attitude that this is why they must suffer - but suffering at the hands of the church is not the suffering Paul speaks of - but he speaks of the suffering that comes as a result of the world.

Not sure what the answer is here - but for me this just seems to be upside down and this shouldn't be so.

Dean Lusk said...

Man, I'm scared. Scared, I tell ya... I find myself agreeing with everything that Preston has said today! :)

I want to make it abundantly clear that being physically tired does not necessarily equate to being burned out.

Physical sacrifice for others is to be expected of followers of Christ. But that also has to be based on Biblical priorities. For instance, regularly going all day, all night at the expense of your family -- showing them that they are of little value, not loving them as Christ loved the Church -- is unacceptable.

Preston, I think you're basically saying that we've built a golden calf out of "ministry." I agree.

"...but suffering at the hands of the church is not the suffering Paul speaks of - but he speaks of the suffering that comes as a result of the world."

Right-o! We are often guilty of thinking that we're suffering "for Jesus' sake" when in fact we're just doing stupid stuff and receiving the just rewards for our efforts.

Have I been harsh enough today?

Preston N said...

"Man, I'm scared. Scared, I tell ya... I find myself agreeing with everything that Preston has said today! :)"

LOL! You should be scared! :)

Christy said...

I might be TOTALLY off base here, but this is the feeling I got Sunday night when you were trying to share your heart - frustration. It can be frustrating when we've reached a certain spiritual realization/awakening and we think that everyone else should be on the same page as we are. However, that doesn't happen. We are all different, and just like each baby develops at a different pace, so do we spiritually. God allows our growth to happen, I believe, when we are truly ready. There are many biblical truths that I've recently come to understand and I wonder why I hadn't seen them before, but then I have to remember that I just wasn't spiritually mature enough to handle the truth that was recently revealed to me until now. And just because I've finally come to this realization, I can't expect everyone else around me to have the same convictions and desire to implement these truths into their lives as I do. Does that make sense?

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