All of us in ministry can think of people in our lives who serve others ‘behind the scenes’ in subtle ways. These may seem like small acts of service, but they are what I like to call “the heart of service”. Services such as: taking dinner to the sick, visiting the lonely, offering a helping hand to someone in need, or even discipling a new believer. While a global worker, or a pastor, is highly esteemed within the church, these other services oftentimes go unnoticed. These people many times are not even thanked, because their ministry is behind the scenes. So, what is it that motivates these people?
As I contemplate the lives of those who serve God behind the scenes, I am reminded of the interaction that Jesus and Simon Peter had in John 21. After Peter had denied his Lord three times, Jesus proceeds to ask Peter three times if he loves Him. It’s as if the three successive questions undo the three denials. With each repeat of the question “Do you love me?” I can see Jesus looking me in the eye, asking me the same question. When Simon Peter finally answers, “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.” Jesus replies, “ Then feed my sheep.” Here Jesus makes it clear that it’s Peter’s love for Him that qualifies him to serve. It’s not years of training in seminary, or Bible school, or cross-cultural equipping. No. It’s Peter’s love for His Lord that compels him to serve His Lord. In the same way, those people that serve the Lord ‘behind the scenes’ are demonstrating their heart of love for their Savior. They are being compelled by the love that they have experienced through Christ’s forgiveness.
Through this text found in John 21, I think we can see that nothing qualifies someone to serve Christ more than their love for Him. When compelled by this awesome love, we will not seek after approval or acceptance, or ‘brownie points’ for what we do. Just knowing we are serving the God we love will be enough to keep us pressing on throughout the many challenges that come our way.