After the defeat of Ammonites and Moabites, lands east of the Jordan River, the Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh came to Moses and asked if it were possible for them to settle east of the Jordan. They had large herds of livestock and east of the Jordan had abundant grazing lands. Moses’ first response to them was sharp, “…Shall your brothers go to war while you yourselves sit here? Now why are you discouraging the sons of Israel from crossing over into the land which the LORD has given them?” Numbers 32:6, 7. As the story has a happy ending; the tribes explain that they would go to war with the rest of Israel and stay as long as needed (they only wanted to settle their families in the east), and Israel conquered Canaan. But Moses brought up a very good point that applies to the Lord’s people in modern times, too: failing to join the work at hand discourages those who are working, but joining in uplifts. And with that in mind, let’s do a little soul-searching.
Are you a lifter or a leaner? Have you ever lifted something with a 3 or 4 year old? If you have, you might remember that sometimes you get to lift not only the original load, but the child also. It’s not their fault, they don’t know how to lift—yet. But we expect more from an adult, right? In the Lord’s church there is much to do; be a lifter, not a leaner. When you lift, you encourage others with your involvement!
Are you a server or a customer? Some folks see the church as a place to be served, not unlike a store or a restaurant. When the service is fine, they offer no complaint, but if the service is off—well, that’s different. But the Lord’s church isn’t a store or restaurant, and members are not customers, they are servants. Instead of looking to be served, shouldn’t we be rolling up our sleeves and doing what needs to be done? When you serve, you encourage others with your involvement!
Are you an owner or a renter? Owners tend to be more careful with the homes they live in, the cars they drive, and the furniture they use. It’s theirs and they take ownership. Renters are usually not as careful; because these things aren’t theirs. Owners paint the walls, maintenance the cars, and clean the furniture; renters just call the owner when things get broken. Do you see the church and the work of the church like an “owner” or a renter? We know the church belongs to the Lord, but we are all stewards, charged with the duty of caring for it the way the Master would. And when we have an owner’s perspective, things start getting done. When you “own” the work of the church, you encourage others with your involvement!
Are you part of the church’s core workers or a peripheral member? Ask any church leader… It’s not that the core workers are just that talented; most often it is that the core group is willing to say, “Yes!” It’s not that the core group has more time than anyone else (they often have less); most often they are simply the ones who have eyes to see the need and are willing to find the time to get it done. Sometimes they are the ones who are willing to cancel other plans to get the Lord’s work done. Become one of the church’s core workers, and encourage others with your involvement!
When the church has a high rate of involvement, the whole church gets encouraged. Things get done by God’s power. New opportunities arise with God’s blessings. Souls are saved by God’s message. And the momentum of growth snowballs into great things. Get involved. Get excited. Invite others to get involved. And watch what God will do!