Who needs me?

“No one needs me.”

If only it were true …

As a mother of four under-six-year-olds I sometimes long for the day no one needs me.
But lockdown has exposed something.

“Who am I? What am I? What is church? Who are friends? What is life?” are some of the many existential crisis questions I unleashed on the world around week five of lockdown.

Anyone else experience a lockdown meltdown?

Despite the constant demands of my household, I felt a strange sense that no one needed me.

One of the beautiful things about the church, the body of Christ, is that we are all needed and we all have a function. But in this new virtual reality there is much less need for participation.

With the move online, the number needed to make a service happen has dropped significantly. And this could lead to some of us feeling disconnected, unneeded or unwanted. Feeling that suddenly there is no place for us and we have nothing to offer the virtual church.

Maybe you’ve felt like that? Maybe you’ve questioned church and where you fit now? I certainly have.

But what God showed me in my lockdown meltdown were some attitudes that needed dealing with. What he revealed was a strange tension between me getting it so wrong and so right at the same time. That my identity was not defined by where I served, or my role on a Sunday morning or midweek. But that my identity was defined as a servant.

A Christian’s natural habitat should be serving; it’s what we do.
When we’re not living to serve someone else we’re living contrary to our new nature in Christ, who came to serve not be served.

Serving is not just signing up to rotas. Serving is a lifestyle because we’re like Christ - Christ the ultimate servant who held nothing back.

We love, serve and care for others because that is the natural behaviour of people who are filled with the Spirit of God. Serving is a litmus test as to how full of the Spirit we are. That’s not to say those most full of the Spirit will be on the most rotas.

Because serving is not ‘doing’. (Well it is; but also it’s not). Serving is a way of life. It doesn’t say, “I have to do this” or “I need to be there”. Serving is an attitude of the heart that is so full of the Spirit and so after the heart of Jesus that it will be inconvenienced, slowed down, interrupted and poured out for the one in front of us.

Jesus was a servant. He was never inconvenienced, (although he was). He was never in a hurry, (although sometimes he really was). He was never empty, (except when he emptied himself on the cross), an emptying far greater than will ever be asked of us. And yet he was so full of the Father’s Spirit and love for those in front of him.

There is a place for us all in the presence of God where he longs to fill us up and send us out. Not to fill rotas or to see our faces on screen, but to fill hearts.

Let’s not lose our appetite to serve, to feel needed and to feel there’s a place for us. But let’s remember we are not rotas. We are living stones ‘being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 2: 5-6).
And we all have a function.

Emily Williams