Tag Archives: Work

10% of the People do 90% of the Work?

I have often heard preachers and others use the adage, “10% of the people do 90% of the work,” in reference to the church. I would like to take a few moments to debunk this particular idea.

Using our congregation of about 50 as an example, that would mean that a total of 5 people do nearly everything within the congregation; for a congregation of 100 that number would be 10. Friends, I can tell you from years of experience that is simply not true.

The problem often lies in what we determine to be “work.” We often consider the “work” to be participating in the public services and being at the forefront of observable programs within the congregation. However, there is a flaw in this reasoning, we have turned the work of the Christian into nothing more than public notoriety. But the work of Christianity goes far beyond what we often think. We have many examples of those that worked behind the scenes, but surely were known for their work. People like Jason (Acts 17), Tabitha (Acts 9), Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18), and many others. Consider who we leave out when we make such broad statements…
– What about the Christians who work to clean the building and do maintenance on the grounds?
– What about the Christians who send cards, make phone calls, and take food to the sick and needy, or simply those they want to encourage?
– What about the Christians who, though unable to do certain public duties, make it their mission to support and encourage (both financially and verbally) those who can?
– What about the Christians who give of their finances to mission works and the poor?
– What about the Christians who give of their time to teach Bible classes, or open their homes for church functions?

Though there are many other areas we could consider, I believe this suffices to show that there are many more avenues of work than we often consider in the body of Christ. It is true that we do not all have the same abilities, nor do we have the same tools at our disposal (1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:16; etc.). We need to ensure we give equal value to all of the works of the body of Christ, not just those that are the most public and receive the most public recognition (1 Cor. 12:14-20).

While it may be true that 10% of Christians LEAD 90% of the works, there is a vast difference between leading others in work and being the only one involved. It is impossible for the work of the church to be accomplished by only 10% of the members. We should instead be arguing that 100% of the work is accomplished by 100% of the congregation; and before we begin looking at fellow members with the attitude that they “are not doing anything,” maybe we should first consider that we might not know all of the things they strive to do in the service of the Master.

God bless his people as they continue to strive for the cause of Christ by every means available to them.

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Dirty Feet

Last night my son fell asleep on the couch after a long day without a nap. As I was looking at him, I noticed his feet were dirty. This is nothing new at our house. Yes, my children have shoes and use them often, but they also fully enjoy running around in the grass and dirt in their bare feet. Yesterday, my sons had played outside at home, helped their mother with yard work, and played at a friend’s house; all in all it was a full day for a 3-year-old child.

As I was watching my son last night I began to consider what those dirty feet would tell about a person. Dirty feet are a sign of roads being travelled. In days gone by, most people did not wear shoes, and even today sandals are still considered a preferred covering for many feet. You could always tell who had been travelling and how far by the amount of dirt and dust covering the traveler’s feet. It showed that the individual was not one to stay still, but was on the move.

Dirty feet are also a sign of work that has been done. It doesn’t take having one’s feet uncovered for them to become dirty in the course of a day’s work. When an individual has been working, whether it is in the field, the yard, or wherever in the great outdoors time is spent, dirty feet are a given. It is a sign of effort and time put into the pursuit in question.

Someone may be thinking that this discussion of one’s dirty feet is interesting, if mildly repulsive, but what does it have to do with spiritual matters? Spiritually speaking, there is something to be said for the individual with dirty spiritual feet. You see, dirty feet imply action being taken. A person’s feet do not become dirty from sitting around doing nothing, only from activity and work do they become cached with the dust and grime of the soil around them. Likewise, the Christian’s feet should be spiritually dirty from fulfilling the work of Christ. The residue of time and effort spent spreading the Gospel and helping their fellow Christians in whatever way possible should be as readily evident as dirty feet.

Isaiah wrote, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7). Paul would quote this passage in Romans 10:15 when speaking of those who go forth proclaiming the Gospel.

Christians should have dirty feet, even if only metaphorically. Feet that are dirty from travelling roads near and far with the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ; feet that are dirty from daily work striving to help fulfill the needs of others whether they be physical or spiritual; feet that are dirty from taking care of the needs of their own family.

Jesus would speak to his disciples of the necessity to “shake off the dust of your feet” (Mat. 10:14), and move on because one has ignored the Gospel or does not want help. In the days where sandals were the common footwear this was a sign of shame for one who has ignored truth, showing that no more time would be wasted on the person who is disinterested. It is certainly true that as one proclaims the Gospel, not all efforts will be successful; not all of those taught will be converted. There will be times where you must metaphorically “shake the dust off your feet” and move on; but if you have not dirtied your feet with effort, there will be nothing to shake off.

Are your feet dirty from serving the master? Do the efforts of your life show a dedication to the work and service of the King; or are they still clean because you have not yet left the house in your master’s service? As Christians, let us not be ashamed of dirty feet.

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What Would Nehemiah Say About Us?

The book of Nehemiah is one of my personal favorites in the Old Testament. It is the inspired diary of the man who oversaw the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem after the return from captivity. The rebuilding of the wall was a feat not often seen because of the ways and means by which it was accomplished. People from all walks of life were working on the project. In chapter 3 there is an extensive list of the builders of the wall. They were rulers and common men, priests and craftsmen, people of Jerusalem and families from the outlying towns and villages, men and women. All came together to work on this great project and the whole wall was built in a mere 52 days because the people had a mind to work (Neh. 4:6; 6:15).

However, within that list of workers in Nehemiah 3 there is one very interesting statement made by the author. He records in verse 5, “And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.” Of all the people in the region, and all of those listed as physically assisting with this project, the Tekoite nobles are the only ones stated to have refused the work building the wall. The reasons for their actions could be many, but the excuses are not enumerated in the text. What is important is that when the time came for the work to be done, they were absent.

Seeing this particular statement causes me to consider another question: what if Nehemiah were to write about the works done in our congregations, laying out the individuals and families that were fulfilling the duties and works of the church in each location, what would he say about me and my family?

It has often been repeated that in most congregations 10% of the people do 90% of the work. While in my experience I have no doubt of the general truth of such a statement, such is not the way it should be. We have a responsibility to be working in the Kingdom of the Lord (John 9:4; Jam. 1:25). The Lord’s church is not the place for the lazy or self-absorbed, but for the servant and workman (Mat. 20:1-16, 27-28). Therefore, it should be the case in every congregation that 100% of the work is done by 100% of the people. It is understood that there are varying degrees of ability and areas of expertise, but there is always more than enough work to go around and always the need for more hands and hearts willing to devote themselves to the task.

If Nehemiah were to write about you and your congregation, what would he say? Would he write of you as he did of so many in his time; how they took of their time, energy, and resources to ensure that the work was accomplished to the best of their ability? Or would he write of you as he did of the Tekoite nobles; that while others worked around you, you did nothing but stand back and watch?

Let us always be willing to put our hands to the task. There will never be too many workers in the Kingdom of God, but there are often far less than there should be. We must respond to the Lord’s tasks in the same manner the people responded to Nehemiah: “Let us rise up and build” (Neh. 2:18).

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Do You Work for Rest?

There are many reasons people work in this world. Some work to obtain money, others work to put food on the table, while still others work to fulfill their ambitions or responsibilities. Though there are many different reasons to work, have you ever worked so that you could rest? Though the concept may seem funny, most of us have probably done so at various times. You work extra hard on one day so that you can have a day off another day. Most people understand this concept of work to obtain rest in the physical world, but do we carry that principle over into the spiritual realm?

Hebrews4:11states, “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The rest being referenced is the ultimate rest of Heaven (Vs. 9-10). For us to enter into that rest requires labor (work). One does not need rest when no work has been done. It is the fulfilling of the labors of life that gives the need of rest. Likewise it is the labors of the commands of God that qualifies and prepares mankind for the rest that is made available to the righteous.

In chapters three and four, the writer is comparing the children of Israel, who came out of Egypt, to his Christian audience. The Israelites quit their responsibilities, rebelled against God, and refused to do what he commanded them. Because of this, they were not allowed entry into the promised land (Num.14:30; Heb.3:18).

The warning being issued is that we must ensure we do not become as the Israelites of Moses’ day. We must continue to work and strive to fulfill the law of God so that we might enter into the rest prepared for the righteous. A lazy person or a quitter will not receive that rest. Only one who fulfills his obligations of work on this earth in service to God will inherit that wonderful blessing. Are you working for that rest?

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