The last two Sundays at Friendship Chapel we’ve been doing a message series called HANDS (Helping And Nurturing During Service…I didn’t come up with the acronym, someone in church did, but I liked it so I stole it). As you can guess by what I just wrote, it’s about serving.
The symbol for serving is a hand, hence HANDS. The thing about hands is that they are used for so many things. They can form a fist and hold onto something or use that fist to hit someone else. They can be opened and slap someone. They can also be opened to give something. They can receive and they can give away. They can offer and they can embrace. In fact hands can offer our hearts to Jesus promptly and sincerely. Hands can carry a hammer or saw to build or a sword to destroy. Hands can do so much. It is the person wielding these hands that chooses what to do with them.
With my hands, I choose to serve. I choose to embrace. I choose to give. And is hard work. To tell the truth, it’s easier to use our hands to hold onto something than it is to let it be opened to offer or embrace. It’s easier to form a fist and clasp onto something than it is to use your hands to embrace. When you clasp hard to something, all you have to do is stay still and not move. When you open your hands to embrace, to hold, to work, you have to do something with them. They have to move.
Many times we want to use our hands to do great things. We want to use our hands to sculpt the next David statue or to paint the next Mona Lisa or to design the next Frank Lloyd Wright-esque home. We want to do great things with our hands. And when we’re not, well, we get sad. We get depressed. Not doing great things with our hands means we’re not doing anything with our hands. We look around us at so many people doing great things and we begin to see how little we do.
It becomes depressing, saddening, and demotivating.
Hands can help us do great things for God in small ways. One job at a time.
When it comes to using our hands in serving and embracing, there’s something we forget. Hands have these things called fingers. They are operated by these things called phalanges (that’s just fun to say). Fingers are supposed to fing. They’re supposed to work. Yes, hands can be used to built great things. But fingers are used to do the minutia. We need our fingers to be able to pick up the smallest things, to operate the most delicate of things. Without our fingers, our hands would be useless.
And it is with our fingers attached to our hands that the little things are done. And when it comes to serving, it is the small things that are so important and are able to lead to the big things.
We look at the great masterpieces of the world created by some of the great artists–Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael (the Renaissance artists, not the mutated turtles). Each piece of work they did needed fingers to gingerly place each brush stroke and each placement of the chisel on the marble.
We may not think that a brush stroke is all that important or a tap on the chisel is important, but built up over time, masterpieces happen.
Followers of Jesus are called to serve. They are to live in serving. Serving is to be like breathing for followers of Jesus. Yet too many times we fail to see what we can do in serving because we don’t have enough money, enough people, enough time, enough energy. We can’t do the big things.
We’re not called to do the big things, God does that by His Holy Spirit. We’re called to let the Holy Spirit move in us in doing the little things.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells of what it will look like when He comes again in His splendor and majesty. He will separate those who served and those who didn’t. Jesus says:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:35-36
And when the people who served asked what they did in serving Him when they didn’t see it or try it, Jesus answers:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Serving isn’t in the big things, it is in the little things. Our hands are made to embrace or destroy. Our hands are made with fingers to do the minutia which leads to being part of the bigger whole. Our hands can hold tightly to something selfishly and not let go or our hands can be opened and serve.
What will your hands do?