“Lord, please send us some musicians.”
“Lord, you know how short we are of children’s leaders.”
“Lord, we need evangelists.”
You know the prayer. The way it ends varies from church to church, but the way it starts is something all pastors know and recognise.
Each week we pray it, and each week we scan the faces in church.
And God is kind and does send us new people: so you too have a Welcome leaflet and a Contact Card, and maybe a welcome desk and a friendly welcome team.
That’s all good.
But what if God doesn’t send us those talented musicians and children’s leaders? What if the brilliant evangelist never shows?
What if instead, he sends us the harassed and the helpless, sheep without a shepherd, longing to be fed? The broken and the weary and the burdened, the crushed and the weak? The ones with life-long problems?
What if he doesn’t send us workers? What if he sends us work?
It is absolutely right that we take those who are ready to be used, and find places where they can serve. That’s good stewardship of God’s gifts.
But it would be a mistake of Corinthian stupidity to overlook the people who aren’t ready to be used. Who aren’t gifted enough or sorted enough to be the answers to our prayers. Who aren’t good-looking enough to be on our publicity.
Who do you really want God to bring to your church?