The Lord's Ushers

"A bridegroom's friend rejoices with him. I am the bridegroom's friend, and I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." John 3:29-30...."What God's given others to do takes nothing from the distinction He's given me." Cheryl Martin

 

Years ago I had a little booklet about the ministry of being an usher in the church. In today's church, it's not really that familiar of a word or ministry. It may be used when those who take the morning offering are called to the front of the church, but for the most part, it's not really seen as a "ministry." That wasn't the view of the brother who wrote the booklet. He saw it as a vital ministry in the Body. Ushers were generally the first people one encountered when entering the fellowship. They welcomed, assisted, and supplied information. They made an impression, but at the same time, were mostly anonymous. They weren't there to draw attention to themselves, but to the church and Lord they represented. It was and is a ministry, but a largely neglected one in these days of superstar preachers and worship leaders. Most of us want to be like them. Few of us seek the role of the usher. And it's not just within the Body that this is so. The drive to be recognized is a strong one that plays out in every facet of life. We seek the center stage, the spotlight. Few of us wish to be "stage hands." Even fewer care to be the one who sits in the dark pointing the spotlight at the one who is on stage. Many know the words of John the Baptist in John 3. Not many of us really care to live them. We're too caught up with trying to find our place on the platform.

 

I heard a lady named Cheryl Martin say that our role in the Body is to be "ushers of the bridegroom." If you've ever attended or been part of a wedding, you know some things. First, the bride and groom get all the attention. A few may notice some of the bridesmaids, but nobody ever pays attention to the ushers. Most anyone can perform the role of an usher for a ceremony lasting an hour. How many can perform that role/ministry as a way of life? Can we? 

 

John the Baptist spoke the words in John 3 after his followers came and told him that everyone was going to listen to Jesus preach and to be baptized by Him. The large crowds that once came to hear John, now gathered to hear Christ. His followers were upset. John wasn't. He knew all along that his ministry and calling was to point the way to Jesus, the Messiah. It was Christ who was central, not John. The Father was revealing Himself through His Son in ways He could not do through John. John knew this, and rejoiced in it. How often do we rejoice in Him using someone else more effectively and with greater results than we ourselves experience? When pride gets in the way, we can't, and we won't. I heard it said that where pride shows up, so does an unteachable spirit. And both can show up a lot in the people of God.

 

Those who are His have one responsibility, no matter what their station in life or the ministry. That is that all they do points to Him, and not themselves. We can come up with endless, seemingly selfless ways to bring attention to ourselves. We may fool others, but it never fools Him. We may also spend a great deal of our lives envying those who are more effective in their place than we are in ours, at least as pertains to how men measure things. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit don't see it or measure it that way. That's what makes Martin's above words so strong. The success of Christ's ministry didn't diminish John's. The success of someone else's life and ministry in bringing glory to Him, doesn't diminish the glory our lives and ministries bring to Him. He doesn't reckon our success according to size, numbers, job titles or bank accounts, no matter how much we do. He measures it by our faithfulness in the role and place He's put us. We may never amount to more than the little toe of His Body, but if it is our determination to bring Him the fullest glory we can in that place, we may never be applauded in this life, but we will certainly have the notice of heaven.

 

In the end, as I saw it put, we will not be asked on that last day as to whether we were sufficiently applauded or recognized while living and ministering here. He will ask if we loved Him, and loved and pointed others to Him? Did we live for what He lived for and also for what He died for? Did we finish the race, whether anyone was watching us or not? Were we content to be ushers, spotlight operators, where the only One on center stage was, and is, Him?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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