It’s a common practice for someone to comment upon something that he perceives needs to be done, with the unspoken understanding that someone else should actually do it. A wife will mention to her husband how their gutters need to be cleaned out, or the trim on their house needs to be painted, or their windows need to be washed, or their kids’ bedroom needs to be painted, or their garage needs to be cleaned out, or their lawn needs to be weeded, etc., etc., etc. I don’t think it’s a sign of paranoia to say that a husband usually understands such comments to mean that, for the most part, his wife wants him to tend to those chores.
On a job, how many times does the boss come up to an employee under his supervision and say something like, “we need to get such and such done.”? What the boss usually means is that he wants the employee to see to that task, whatever it is, even though he used the term “we.” Or, in a more general frame of reference the supervisor will say, “The restroom needs cleaning,” or a bit more personally, “Our restroom needs cleaning.” However, the employees under his direction understand immediately that the boss has no intention whatsoever to clean the restroom himself. He means for one of them to do it.
The Lord’s church is certainly not immune to such statements with natural, but unspoken, understandings. Some member will point out that weeds need pulling, but the member who does the pointing out means, without saying so, that someone else needs to pull the weeds. A brother or sister will come up to an elder or a deacon or the preacher and state that some member needs to be visited. But the brother or sister making the statement has no intention of making the visit himself or herself. Someone else, and the intended meaning is probably that an elder or a deacon or the preacher, needs to make the visit.
It’s good to notice things that need to be done, even better to be concerned enough to bring them to the attention of someone in a position of responsibility. But it’s best of all when we’ll notice something that needs to be done and then offer to take care of it ourselves. Especially is such an attitude proper, and needed, in the church. Each Christian needs to become involved in whatever ways he is capable and has opportunity to do so. Each of us needs to do our own part and help, where needed and as we are able, to see to the upkeep and beautification of the church property. And, each of us needs to be on the lookout for souls. Each of us needs to be aware of brothers and sisters who become sick, of those who are struggling spiritually, of any who become in need of some kind of help, be it physical or spiritual.
As we become aware of such, we need to be willing and ready to step in and do what we can do individually. Sometimes, we will not be able, on our own, to see to the needs. In such cases, we ought to seek out help from others within the congregation. But we should never harbor an attitude that just assumes someone else ought to do everything that needs to be done.
May God guide each one of us to be alert to needs within the congregation. May He guide us to be willing to help where we can and to be available in order that our talents can be used. There is great power in God’s people when we will band together and work together. Not only is there great power in such an effort, but there is also great glory to be brought to the Father through such an example. To Him be the glory in our lives!…
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Gary L. Hutchens