You know the adage that “20% of the people do 80% of the work”? It is a complaint that usually a small group of people take on the lion’s share of the responsibility in an organization, while the majority of people slack off. Often the 80-20 rule comes up in volunteer organizations like the church. It can leave the 20% in a frustrated fuming place because they’re tired of “doing it all”, while the 80% free-load into relaxation.
Not at Faith Church. We break that rule. And it is an awesome thing to see. I think we have 80% of the people serving very actively. Maybe it could be said that we follow the 80-90 rule. 80% of the people doing 90% of the work. Sure there are some people that work more than others, but I am so impressed at how many people are giving of themselves on committees, volunteering for ministry, and serving others in personal ways. There is also the hidden service that happens that I know nothing about, because people want to serve the Lord and want no recognition for themselves.
So I’m really encouraged by Faith Church! And yet, in our next passage in 1st Corinthians, we could potentially hear Paul asking us to serve even more. This week’s sermon is on one verse, and not a very long one at that. After breaking down his teaching on the resurrection in four sections, this week we look at the final verse of that resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, verse 58:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
It seems like Paul is saying we should use the 100-100 rule. 100% of the people do 100% of the work. Everyone always giving themselves fully!
Sound impossible to anyone? Sound unrealistic?
How many of you see all the stuff going on at church and think that you would love to help out, but your life is so busy there’s no time? How many of you think 100% is ridiculous, and you just move on, maybe feeling guilty, maybe feeling pressure, and having conversations with yourself about why not serving more is okay? How many of you think that when the kids grow up, then you’ll give more time to the Lord?
Why is Paul so fired up anyway? It’s these kinds of verses that make Paul seem a bit too radical for our tastes, right?
So what do we do with radical teaching? We normally call it “radical” and throw it away. We’re looking for “balanced” teaching. Teaching that fits with an already busy life.
But should we dismiss Paul? Is it possible that he was right and we are wrong to caricature him as radical? What could it possibly mean to “always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord”? Didn’t the Corinthian Christians have jobs and families too? They couldn’t all be hanging around teaching Sunday School all the time, right? Or were they always on the street corner preaching the Gospel? How did they keep food on the table? What do we do with this one single, little, but intense verse???
Join us at Faith Church on Sunday as we take a look at this further. We’ll look at what it means to serve God in the midst of crazy busy lives.