What I Learned While Serving as the Church Custodian

clean-the-house

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Php 2:5-7)

(This is a reprint from my former blog)

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be the sexton of the church as our regular team, a husband and wife, were on vacation.  I was glad to get the opportunity as years ago, while in seminary, I had a short stint cleaning a church.

When you clean the church you have a lot of time to think, much akin to the thinking you do when mowing the lawn.  Also, when cleaning the church you often find surprises.  Sometimes, the surprises are messes of careless living.  At other times, they may be lost jewelry, drawings children have created, or just a simple amusement, such as an intricate spider web.  Cleaning the church also reveals where all the activity takes place.

Thus, as I began my work God reminded me that the messes, spills, and wear from use of the building were all positive signs of His blessing.  It was good to see dirty diapers in the pail and cookie crumbs from a small child.  The senior adults had their obligatory Styrofoam cups of coffee.  The youth has all sorts of snack wrappers.  I found where in forgetfulness, I had left a pile of bulletins, scribbled notes, and my coat.

Some of the messes were a mystery to me as to why they would have been made in the first place.  But God was reminding me of what it is to be a servant.  A servant is one who often serves others in obscurity.  A servant never sets the agenda, but takes their lead from the master.  A servant rarely hears praise for the ingenuity of a task well done, more often they only gain another duty.  At one point, after nearly having the entire building ready for Sunday, a funeral was put on the agenda.  Thus all the previous work would need to be redone.  (This was a blessing however to the funeral family, they had a clean church at their disposal)

In the grand scheme of the weekend, it was a blessing to go through what another person experiences in ministry on a weekly basis.  Too often I can become routine in my duties, and here I benefited from the viewpoint of another co-laborer.

This has served as a reminder that often, the work of many is overlooked. But without their efforts a noticeable disparity would affect all.  Thus, the body of believers, when each one does their part, may not get noticed for the little things, but without everyone’s involvement we all suffer.

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