He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Of course, that’s the end of the story in John’s gospel. It began with blindness, and a question about the antecedent sin that caused the blindness. Was it his? Was it his parents’? Then this person, who he can’t see, puts mud made of dirt and spit on his eyes. “Go wash,” the stranger says, “and show yourself to the priest.”
This guy could not see Jesus. He might have recognized his voice, but he’d never seen him. Later, after all the religious name calling and back biting, you know, after he’s been kicked out of church, Jesus finds him. And Jesus reveals who he really is. And the guy believed him. And the guy worshipped.
This was Sunday’s sermon at Cowboy Church and I haven’t been able to shake its effects on me. Cindy and I are Mark 9:24 people; I believe, help my unbelief. But even when I get that settled, I can often be found worshipping something else.
And so I woke today wondering how I could worship Jesus in the Storehouse, because my role in the pantry is rarely something that might be equated with worship.
“Mike, there are ants in the dry room where we keep the sweets.”
“Mike, can we serve this guy who was here last week but swears someone else signed his name and knew all of his data?”
“Mike, we need diapers and shampoo.”
“And there’s also ants in the cold room.”
“And you need to order more freezer bags.”
Today, eleven of the volunteers who have regularly served with us through the academic year were missing. Parents had to be visited or cared for, students returned home from school, cruises had to be taken. Yes, I said had to be taken.
So I worked the door. And Jamie and Candy, bless their hearts, just jumped from job to job whenever a section bogged down.
When does service become worship? If it’s when we serve in Jesus name, then our entire Storehouse day is worship. We remind ourselves in team meeting both before we pray and during that we cannot serve, and love, and endure apart from the grace of Jesus.
And we do it all for His glory, His Kingdom, and His purpose.
If it’s when we serve until we’re completely spent, and then keep serving, then a Storehouse day is worship, because that’s what happens. Today, when we closed the door, put up the sign, and the curtain, and turned out the light in the entry, there were still twenty clients in the waiting room. We were pooped, but the folks in the cold room were calculating just how much of what was left they could give to each one so that everyone was well served and there was no food left.
Personal shoppers were cheerful and energetic even though the three ladies who did that work are in their mid-60s, 70s, and 80s.
Do we worship Jesus when we take special care to make sure the items we give our clients are of the highest quality? The eyes of every volunteer are constantly on the lookout for any item in our pantry that doesn’t meet the standard.
That can be clearly seen in our kitchen, the prepared food prep area. This morning, Cat and Al, worked to bag pizza and leftovers from Hendrix; the last leftovers we’ll see until August.
But too, it’s seen in our dry room as volunteers bag breads and sweets from donor businesses. They always wear gloves and then arrange items so they can be clearly seen. And why? It looks on the surface that it’s best practice, but really, it’s worship.
About a year ago, I saw a couple in our Storehouse and struggled to believe my eyes. I’d met him when he managed a business here in town. He’s a believer and shared with me stories of his work in the Salvation Army, helping to manage homeless shelters. Then the business closed and I lost track of him.
When I saw him last year, I knew right away that he hadn’t been well for some time. He still seemed cheerful. When I saw him today, it was obvious that his condition had affected his spirits. He had worsened both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Toward the end of the day, I did a bit of work in check-out, where we bag up groceries and pray for clients. As it happened, I got to serve my friend and his wife. But when I finished bagging up their groceries, he was already gone to get their car. I walked with her to carry-out and stayed with her so I could pray for them. In the wait, she shared some of the weight their circumstances have put on her.
He pulled up and when their groceries were in their car, I asked if I could pray for them. We usually follow that up with, “Is there anything specific…?” But that was completely unnecessary.
So there, in the original parking lot of the old Second Baptist Church, at the corner of Polk and Factory, huddled together, a group of three, heads bowed, I prayed. My voice wiggled the entire time as I tried to keep my emotions at bay.
And together, we worshiped Jesus.
There was a young fellow who lives in North Little Rock but had come to Conway and then had all of his things stolen. At least, that’s what he told me. He was really at wits end and was afraid we wouldn’t serve him because he didn’t have his ID.
Later, when he stood in line to begin shopping, along with seven or so other people, he absolutely lit up. He had all of them laughing the entire time he was there. Suddenly they weren’t strangers standing in line for their chance at picking out groceries. They were fellow enjoyers of life.
And it wasn’t just him. Right before volunteer Cheryl left, she told me she had also felt a unique joy in the Storehouse. It had been a good day, she said.
And it was. A house full of people, we served 89. The serving and the served, sharing life, and hope together.
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org for all things "Volunteer".
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