This past Sunday, Hillcrest Baptist church enjoyed a milestone event as Herbert Aromin was ordained into the deacon ministry. Why would anyone want to be a deacon? Well, if the truth be known, the ones who deac well don't really want to be deacons. They haven't gone looking for this office. They have simply been faithful servants in the church who are growing in their faith. The church recognized this and felt led by God to ask them to serve as deacon. Herbert didn't ask to be made a deacon and he actually declined serving as a deacon for a couple of years. Finally, he felt like he had been using excuses rather than stepping up as a deacon. So, he left it in God's hands and allowed himself to be nominated. He went through a process of being questioned by our active deacons and then was brought before an ordination council made up of many different ordained men. This council felt he was qualified and recommended him to be ordained as a deacon. So on Sunday, we had the privilege of ordaining Herbert Aromin into the deacon ministry. This doesn't change who he is or what he does: He will still serve as he has been doing ever since he joined the church. however, he will now have added responsibility in that service.
Hillcrest expects her deacons to serve. They do such important functions as opening/closing the church for ministries and events, opening/closing the gates to our parking lots, coming to the church if the alarm company calls, visiting with the pastor, staying in contact with our church members, preparing the Lord's Supper, preparing and cleaning the baptistery and are always the first ones I call when a thankless job needs to be done. They even have to miss some of the worship service to patrol the parking lot, making sure that our vehicles are safe and sound. Deacon is not a position of authority but one of service. We expect our deacons to set the example for the rest of the church. So after every fellowship or meal we have in the church, the deacons are the ones who sweep, mop and lock up after the event. They serve in a multitude of ways that most folks in the church never see or notice, unless the deacons forget to do it.
Jesus has an expectation of His followers: He expects us to be servants. Matthew 20 says, "24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus has never measured greatness by a bank account, political power, popularity or possessions. He has measured greatness by service without seeking recognition. He set the example for us on the cross as He gave His life as a ransom for us. So He has every right to expect service from His followers.
I am constantly amazed at people who want to meet Jesus on their own terms, not on His. They want the benefits of following Jesus without the costs of following Jesus. They have a convenient faith. They are all about Jesus when they need Him, but they don't want to hear about service, sacrifice and dedication. They want the church to meet their needs, but they never serve anyone in the church. They rarely come to church, but when they are in the hospital, they expect the church leaders to know and show up to visit them. They get bent out of shape when the church doesn't meet their needs. They come every Sunday, asking for help with something else in their lives, yet rarely have they ever come to church and asked others how they could help them. They have an immature and self-centered faith and view of the church. They become more of a burden to the church than an asset to the church. I have little time or use for those who have this attitude, but I love being around people who enjoy serving. I like hanging out with them because I know I will get the opportunity to serve with them. They push me out of my comfort zone in asking me to help meet the needs of others. They never drain me, but they enthuse me.
I am grateful to serve in a church with a lot of servants, whether they are officially deacons or not. As example of that attitude is the fellowship after Herbert's ordination: The people of Hillcrest provided a feast, even though we talked about having a light snack. One of our members even brought his own fryer so he could fry these incredible treats. Another member rolled and cooked lumpia. All of the food tables showed the love and service of the Hillcrest members. I love being a part of a church with servants. Even as I write this on Monday morning at 7:45, one of our members has been here since 7:00 repairing some dry wall in one of our classrooms. Thanks for living out the call of Jesus to serve.
For those of you not involved in Hillcrest: How's your service? In your church, have you found a place to serve and been one of the unseen servants or are you sitting back and letting others do the work? Follow the example of Herbert and Jesus....Serve!!