By Chris Higgins
I love the plaque that adorned the Oval Office when Ronald Reagan was president: “It’s amazing how much can get done when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” As the body of Christ, the church is made up of many different members all working toward the same goal. Being in the spotlight with our individual contributions should be of little importance as we serve the larger cause of Christ.
Of Ants and Preachers
Several years ago our worship minister was talking with someone about this very concept—that we are all just servants doing our part. To make his point he said, “The guy who gets up to preach is no more important than the guy who vacuums the floor.” Just then, I, the preacher, appeared in his office carrying a vacuum cleaner. I had no idea what he was talking about on the phone, but I had been cleaning up an ant problem in my office. There is truth there. We all have places of equally important service in the body of Christ.
That same week I got an email from someone commenting what a great article I had written for a recent church newsletter. I had to send back a message agreeing that it was a good article but it had been written by that same worship minister. Thinking too highly of myself wasn’t a problem for me that week!
A Better Body Image
The humorous analogy Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12 between the human body and the body of Christ reminds us that we need each other to function properly. We all have a place.
Yet the spirit of unity and harmony gets sucked out of a church when folks become too preoccupied with getting credit. There is nothing wrong with getting recognition for a job well done. The problem comes if such recognition is the sole reason for serving. Or if it leads to competition and hurt egos. It all goes back to understanding that we are servants of the Lord.
Chris Higgins has been the pastor of First Church of Christ in Owosso, Michigan, since 2002. He and his wife, Lori, are parents to Daniel, Andrew, and Becca.