Well, I headed out bright and early today on my way to jury duty. I made sure I had plenty of time to run by the new Dunkin’ Donuts (praise God for them) downtown to grab my gallon ‘o joe for the duration of the wait.
I ran into a friend while waiting in the jury pool (sounds like wading in the pool). She’s five years older than I am and has NEVER, I repeat NEVER, been called for jury duty! What?!?!?! Wait a minute! I kid you not, I have had probably a 3-year hiatus from duty but prior to that I’ve been called yearly, it seems. My first time was the week of my wedding and my daddy got me out of that week and into a later one. Another time was the third week of being a mom…not a good time to have to serve. They saw my bags under my eyes and let me off that one after reporting for duty.
After hearing everybody’s personal reasons for hardship we waited for the roll to be called up yonder. Yes, that’s what I said. The jury manager waits to hear from the judge upstairs before calling people’s names for potential jury sitting.
I have to share one soul’s excuse for not wanting to serve. I know his name but will spare you that knowledge. He’s a pastor in town and he came in wearing a certain item of his clothing that would indicate his calling. Anyway, at the appropriate time, he raised his hand to share before the group (many of whom had shared deaths, illnesses, loss of limb…etc. as excuses). His reason? Well, it deserves its own line.
He has to minister to people and there’s no one else to do his job.
I wanted to stand up and say, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few!” I was afraid some might not appreciate my feedback and others would not get it. But, I was thinking it really loudly in my head. I could feel a Holy Spirit moment welling up within and almost forgot my purpose for being where I was.
But, on the other hand, I wanted to roll my eyes and say something very “judge-like” to the pastor with our position being close to the courtrooms and all. “Are you going to tell Jesus that when we sit and judge with Him?”
But then, I kind of chuckled at his excuse because it is such a deep and profound statement of the Church today.
I’m sure he is probably the sole staff member (he lead us to believe that and I hope he wasn’t lying) of his congregation. He may have a part-time secretary or volunteer laity who do some of the odd jobs around the office. If it’s that small, could there be much ministering to do today? I don’t know.
Then again, maybe he’s a lone ranger pastor trying to be a one-man show so as not to burden any of the laity. Or, maybe he doesn’t like working with them….I don’t know.
It made me think more and more of what I have been guilty of before…lone-range leading. A great way to multiply the kingdom is to share the load. Back in the days when I wanted to be the next Beth Moore/Kay Arthur/Priscilla Shirer/Anita Renfroe woman with characteristics of them all combined into me as, “Super Teacher,” I was guilty of trying to go it alone.
God took me out of that place quickly. He has now moved me into finding those who have that gift of teaching and encouraging them to train to teach and exercise that gift. Rather than church planting (starting new churches) it’s Bible study planting (starting new Bible studies). It’s not easy. So many are content to be led rather than leading.
I feel for that lone pastor if he is indeed the only one who can minister to his congregation. I pray that someone will come alongside him and shadow him to step into that roll with him and eventually independently in another church. Then they’ll both find another and train/mentor them and so on…
Multiplying for the Kingdom…it’s a good thing.
So, if you have a gift that you are not exercising for the body of Christ, you might be keeping your pastor from jury duty! I’m sure there is much to be done in your church and they could use a little help. What’s that statistic? The same 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the Church. Do you realize that if you are a Christian, you were given a gift that is to be used for serving the body of Christ? What are you doing with yours? Maybe it’s time to go back and read the story of those given talents (money) by the master and what the various ones did with what they were given. When the master returned from his trip, some had multiplied what they’d been given and some had buried it so as to not lose it. The master was not happy with those who had buried what he’d given them and so he took it away and gave it to the ones who had multiplied theirs.
Was my name called up yonder? Yes. I knew the defense attorney and several potential witnesses and was struck at 1:00 from the list to serve on what I could tell was going to be an emotional and gut-wrenching case. I left thankful that I would not have to serve in that capacity today. Tomorrow? Well, that’s another day with another case they’ve already assigned me to sit in on.
In the meantime, because I knew I had jury duty this week, my back-up teacher was at home preparing Thursday’s lesson for Hebrews. On Friday, several of us (hopefully my jury tenure will be done) are going for some training in teaching and finding our places of service in the Church. Another potential teacher is going Saturday to train to lead a Bible study. It’s so exciting, multiplying for the Kingdom!