He sat on the church platform beside my pastor. His left hand held a well-worn Bible, while his right hand gripped a clean toilet brush. The sounds of children singing a praise song in Chinese brought smiles to everyone, especially to the man holding Godâ€™s Word and a common cleaning gadget. The beaming man was Reverend Kevin Vacca, a visiting missionary from Taiwan.
As his son and two daughters returned to the front pew to sit beside their mother, Reverend Vacca approached the pulpit. His right hand continued to clasp the toilet scrubber, while he opened his Bible to Romans 12:3-8 with the other. The congregation stood. Some folks opened their Bibles and followed along with him as he read his text. Others just looked at the guest speaker and wondered, â€œwhy is he holding that in his hand?â€
â€œThank you. You may be seated.â€ He hesitated a moment, then, like a victorious soldier, the missionary waved the toilet brush high overhead and shouted, â€œHe can use me! He can use me!â€
Reverend Vacca, a former U.S. Marine, captivated the crowd as he told them how he became a Christian.
â€œFollowing my conversion, I was young and eager to do something for God. I shared this longing with my pastor and he gave me the toilet ministry. Not many church members had applied for that job. So I figured, why not? I couldnâ€™t make too many doctrinal errors in there.â€ Puzzled faces relaxed.
â€œEvery week I would get my brush and scrub. No one fought me for it. I discovered it was a labor I could do in secret. Some folks never knew the toilets had been cleaned.â€ He paused, and with earnest eyes looked upward. â€œBut God knew.â€
Faithfulness in cleaning the toilets evolved into teaching Bible studies. Consistency in a few things led to pastoring a church in Japan and then years later, to sharing the gospel with the people of Taiwan.
Like Reverend Vacca, many great men and women in the Bible had humble beginnings.
All of these and others endured years of preparation before they completely fulfilled Godâ€™s will for their lives. These biblical examples illustrate the paradoxical principles that are throughout Godâ€™s word. To find life, you must first lose it. The way up is always the way down. To be a leader, you must start by being a servant.
Reverend Vaccaâ€™s Scripture text compared how the many members within our human bodies donâ€™t all have the same function, just as all of the spiritual members within the body of Christ donâ€™t possess the same gifts and talents. Have you thought about how you could use your abilities to lighten the load of your pastor? Perhaps you could enlist in one or more of the following areas:
- mowing the grass
- fertilizing or adding compost material
- dusting and vacuuming
- copying the church bulletin or letters
- sweeping and mopping
- folding letters and stuffing envelopes
- cleaning the windows
- visiting those who are hospitalized
- weeding a flower bed
- transporting people to church
- trimming the hedges
- organizing a storage shed or closet
- cleaning the bathrooms
- washing the church van or bus
Tools for church maintenance may be a mop, rake, lawn mower or toilet brush.
Whether your faithfulness in doing any of these tasks leads to other responsibilities within the ministry or whether you continue to do the same job for a long time, God sees and knows every sincere effort that is done to edify His body, the church. He can use you!
Mary E. McCloud is a truth lover, Christ follower and registered nurse. She attends The Living Word Church in Greenville, Tx., Scott McManus pastor.