The Dilemma

There is a reality in ministry – some serve and some are served. As a pastor’s wife, what category do you typically fit into?

To have a healthy balance in life we should all sometimes be served. If we are to live a life as Christ did, we must learn to serve sacrificially as well. We must let go of our own desires so that others might benefit. When the ‘joy of the Lord’ is not spiriting us on toward good works we have a choice. We can serve with an attitude, or we can take on the attitude of a servant.

One of the times in life when it is most difficult to choose to be a servant is when there is something special going on at church – like at Christmas or Easter. Everyone wants to see the kids in the program or hear the Cantata. After all, we need to take time to ‘hit pause’ during the holiday madness to focus on the Savior. You can’t blame anyone for wanting to take some time off from their responsibilities – especially those who faithfully serve in one area of the church year round.

The church nursery. Ahhh, and therein lies the dilemma.

On holidays, there is often an increase in visitors who attend Sunday morning services. Some of those visitors also have small children, so holiday Sundays are not a good Sunday to have an empty nursery. So, what can you do?

Creativity is key – along with some planning. Some years have flowed more smoothly for us than others. One year, we hired a reputable individual from the community to keep the nursery during the worship hours. But, then comes the question, “Wouldn’t that keep them from a time of worship?” Nope! Not if they attend a Seventh Day church that holds their worship hour on Saturday. One year, we hired high school students so that our volunteers could have a break. However, that doesn’t work well for the years when the teens are a main part of the day’s program. But, what if no ‘out of the box’ solution can be found?

Then, I volunteer in the church nursery. Yep. I do! Is it my favorite place to be? Not typically. Then, why do I do it? You might be surprised to find out that my reason is not because I am the pastor’s wife.

No, keeping the church nursery is not my responsibility or yours, but it is a very important part of the Sunday morning ministry to the church family and community. If our goal, as a believer, is to help promote the Gospel message, I believe we each have a great opportunity to be a part of that process by assisting individuals who would like to attend the worship hour without a wiggly toddler or crying baby.

Is keeping the church nursery a sacrifice? Yes. For many, it is a huge sacrifice and not where they would prefer to serve the church body. Is it worth it? Definitely!

I do not dare to claim that I understand the whole ‘seed sowing’ process that goes on in a person’s life as they are drawn closer to Christ. I do understand, however, that we can be a part of that process, and that is what ministry is all about. Any time we sacrifice of our time and energy we must choose to do it without false pretense. 

It isn’t your duty to keep the church nursery. It isn’t your duty to greet individuals. It isn’t your duty to lead music. It isn’t your duty to teach Sunday School or visit the shut-ins. So, no guilt trip here. But, I do want to challenge us all to step beyond our normal routine, to dig a bit deeper in our life sacrifice and to trust God to refresh and restore our souls in ways beyond what we can imagine.

The choice is yours.

I have every confidence that God will guide you into His best for your life if you simply ask for His guidance. Trust Him daily and be alert for ways to serve others in the days ahead. Consider what God has ‘required of you’ as Micah has shared:

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8

Will you choose to serve or be served today?


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