Lined across the front of the platform during a worship service, a group of children joyfully move, singing their special song with motions. That is, except for one little boy people can’t take their eyes off. He stands there with a furrowed brow, arms tightly crossed in front of him, and not opening his mouth the whole time. His body language speaks volumes. He clearly doesn’t want to be there.
Now let’s think about ourselves and how we come across to those we serve. Do people get the message that we want to be there with them? How open are we in both our posture and words? Are we communicating that we care? Does joy exude from our being? Or, do we come across similar to that disgruntled little boy?
Focus Tends to Go to the Disgruntled Ministry Workers
Just like our attention keeps getting drawn to that one little boy, so it is human tendency to pick out those who aren’t doing well in ministry.
We need to heed the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonian church “to acknowledge those who work hard among you” (1 Thess. 5:12-13). Let’s not neglect to extend our appreciation and gratitude to people who are serving with the right attitudes, actions, and words. Let’s put some focus on the good, and not let the one or two disgruntled ones distract us.
And, since disgruntled ministry workers can not only pull attention off of those who are doing well, but also negatively affect the big picture, we need to continue on with Paul’s instruction. He said, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thess. 5:14) — See and respond to the inner need behind the disgruntled exterior.
A Word for All of Us About Our Attitudes
If you are like the boy: You may have legitimate reasons for feeling disgruntled about your place of service but your attitude could do damage to the cause of Christ. Others will notice and get distracted from where they need to be focused. Don’t, however, repress your feelings or simply put on a front. Rather, ask God to search your heart and work in you a change of attitude and an ability to deal with the issue in a godly manner.
If you are the recipient of someone who doesn’t want to be there: Remind yourself that this is one person. Try not to judge everyone because of a bad experience with an individual or two. You’ll miss the big picture of good that is going on around you.
If you are the ministry leader with someone who doesn’t want to be there: Do you know why their attitude is such? Have you taken the time to come along side of this person to listen, encourage, and spur him/her on?
How will we live out 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 with one another?