Sunday, November 18, 2007

Behind the Scenes Blessings

Have you ever aspired to be an assistant? While that question sounds ludicrous to me, you may be the kind of person who truly loves serving in the background. I confess, however, that I have a huge affinity for the limelight. While I don't always have to be center stage, I don't want to be far from it. I'm ok with a supporting role, but at least put me on the stage! I can honestly say I've never desired to be an assistant.

But the Lord has shown me recently just what a position of honor the humble assistant holds. In fact, Jesus taught and demonstrated over and over again how crucial it is for His followers to willingly assist others. The story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that helping those in need is what makes us good neighbors. Jesus admonished His disciples to seek to be last in order to be first. And He demonstrated the calling to service when He washed His disciples' feet. Jesus elevated the role of assistant to great honor and He continues to call us to assist those around us.

Last week I spent several days in Nashville, Tennessee, at the National Women's Ministry Leadership Forum. The attendees had the huge honor of meeting almost all of LifeWay's women's ministry authors: Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Whelchel, Mary Kassian, Vicki Courtney, Shaunti Feldhahn, Angela Thomas, and Jennifer Rothschild, to name a few. During a Meet and Greet Reception, I was able to speak personally with each author, get an autograph on their latest book, and snap a picture if I chose. Each lady was delightfully personable and enjoyable. I'm grateful for these women, their gifts, and the ways they have used them to minister to thousands of women around the country through their Bible studies. But as much as I enjoyed meeting these anointed authors, I was actually more impressed with a woman whose name I can't even recall.

Jennifer Rothschild, one of the authors I mentioned, is blind. Therefore, she didn't sit at her station alone. She was accompanied by an assistant. As I approached the table with a friend to meet Jennifer, her assistant took from us the books we had brought to be autographed. She glanced at my name tag and said, "Jennifer, this is Kay." I took Jennifer by the hand and told her how glad I was to meet her. We talked for a few minutes and then Jennifer signed my book, which her assistant had opened to the title page and positioned in front of the author. Before I left, the assistant offered to take a picture of my friend and myself with Jennifer. Walking away from Jennifer's table, I knew I had been in the presence of not one great servant of God, but two.

I'm ashamed to say I can't remember the name of Jennifer's assistant. She wore a name tag and was extremely friendly. But the truth is, I'm not sure I could even describe her appearance to you. Still, her service and assistance affected me profoundly. And I'm almost certain the reason I don't remember her name or face is because she did her job so well. You see she wasn't there as the main attraction. Though I'm sure she enjoyed meeting the women who approached Jennifer for autographs and she probably has invested greatly in Jennifer's ministry, she didn't insist on being in the limelight. She didn't even try to share it with Jennifer. Mmmm, mmm, mmm. To a limelight hog like myself, that's pretty amazing!

This lovely assistant reminds me of a man who, of all things, wore animal skins and ate locusts. You probably know I'm referring to John the Baptist, who paved the way for Jesus by preaching repentance in the wilderness. When asked if he might actually be the Christ, John didn't hesitate to say no. In fact, he claimed only to be a "voice" of one crying in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord." He was an assistant who knew his place. Later, when some of John's followers tried to force him onto center stage, John resisted the temptation to accrue a following by saying, "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease." What humility! And yet Jesus Himself would later say, "among those born of women, there is no one greater than John."

At first glance the role of assistant may seem menial and insignificant, but Jesus has elevated this position in His kingdom. He said those who desire to attain greatness must instead serve and seek no acclaim. Then He will elevate you in the proper time. Servants, assistants, helpers - call them what you will - they are in Jesus' spot light.

I'm thankful I got to meet the lovely authors who have penned so many of the Bible studies I have taught and learned from. They have obviously made significant contributions to God's work for this age. But I am even more grateful for the opportunity to meet someone of perhaps even higher stature in Jesus' kingdom - a pleasant, gentle, humble and nameless assistant who showed me what true service looks like. May I step out of the limelight today, help someone else to shine, and serve with joy and humility.


Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I think it is awesome you got to attend that conference. I wanted to go so badly but just didn't have the time to get away...

Always great meeting another PW~ :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Kay. This is Jennifer's Dr. Phil - her husband, and her "other" assistant. There's a lot of us around here that find great joy in serving Jennifer, and serving the Lord. The assistant you refer to on this occassion is the wonderful Karen True. A dear friend and one who assisted Jennifer in research and writing her Bible studies you might have enjoyed. Your words will mean the world to her I know. They will also minister to Jennifer's other assistant Kathryn, and the half dozen women who accompany her at events. Thank you for taking the time to write about Karen, and all of us. Philip Rothschild

Kelli said...

It sounds like the conference was a wonderful blessing!
Thank you for visiting my blog, it's nice to meet you!