“The Lord hath need of thee.” That was the key phrase.
My colleague was sharing her seminary professor’s advice on recruiting volunteers and leaders in the church. Use these words, he said:
“The Lord hath need of thee.”
My friend said she filed the phrase away in her pastor toolkit. It seemed really great. It has that important King James feel, which makes it sometimes come out with a slight British accent. It impresses upon the subject that it is God who needs them and not just the pastor or the church. Yes, this would work!
After a while, she got a little curious as to where the phrase came from. She was certain it was Scriptural, and she knew she had heard it before — she just couldn’t put her finger on where.
Surely, this was a momentous call — perhaps to one of the disciples. This was no doubt the turning point in someone’s life, and now we get to use these words to call people to service in the Kingdom of God as well.
After a quick search, however, it was not the call of a disciple. In fact, it wasn’t even directed at a person. It was directed at an ass — err, a donkey — excuse my language…
This amazing phrase was what the disciples were supposed to say when they were taking (stealing?) a donkey/colt for Jesus on what we now call Palm Sunday.
And what was the donkey’s job? To carry Jesus. That was it. This wasn’t a talking donkey, like in the Old Testament. While riding the donkey, Jesus tells a critic that if the crowds were to be silenced then the rocks would cry out. No mention of the donkey.
But that wasn’t the donkey’s role. In fact, it didn’t have to cry out. The mere fact that it was a donkey helped to reveal Jesus’ true identity (see Zechariah 9:9). At the end of the day, that’s a pretty important job, even if it doesn’t seem all that glamorous.
Holy Week and Easter are here. If you haven’t started experiencing anxiety, I am sure it will set in soon. Leading, preaching, teaching, ministering, and even volunteering during Holy Week and Easter weekend is a big deal. It is very important. We have an incredible opportunity during this week every year to proclaim the good news of the Gospel.
One of the pitfalls, however, is blowing our role way out of proportion. Of course, you should preach an engaging sermon that glorifies God. Of course, your small group or Sunday school class should allow people the space to discuss together the meaning of God’s incredible grace and mercy. Of course, your ministry should strive for excellence in all aspects of hospitality and worship.
But at the end of the day, our role is really, truly the same as the donkey’s role: to carry Jesus and reveal his identity as we go.
So, to you — pastor, preacher, teacher, volunteer, small group leader, greeter, choir member, worship leader, church member — during this Holy Week and Easter weekend, remember this:
The Lord hath need of thee.
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