Earlier this year, I signed up for something I didn’t think I would normally do—ushering. My church had opened an additional worship service so more people could return to church safely while adhering to Covid-19 measures, and they needed more ushers.
My cell group leader had suggested I could help as an usher (as I had not been involved in any of the church’s ministries), and I accepted the duty as I felt it was an area I could contribute in.
When the new service started, I began ushering with some other church members. We would report early for our duty and be stationed at the sanctuary to welcome the worshippers as they start arriving.
Being an introvert, I felt nervous at the thought of approaching fellow members to greet them. I was unfamiliar with most of the people coming in, as we were a big church and I have been with this church for just a little over two years. Still, I did my best to greet and usher them to their seats.
But when I saw how my cheerful and outgoing church mate did it all so effortlessly, it was a blow to my confidence. Even though we were both new to ushering, her graceful and swift movements looked so professional. I plucked up the courage to ask her how she was doing it. Her answer was a simple: “Just do it.” Noticing that I looked unconvinced, she quickly added, “You can do it too!” Although she was sincere, I felt that it wasn’t as easy for me. I began to have doubts. Maybe I am not suitable for ushering? Had I answered the call to usher wrongly?
When I returned home, I began to realise how easy it is, if we’re not careful, to fall into a comparison game when we’re serving in church—of seeing who can serve better. Insecurity crept in as I measured my performance against my fellow usher. I was afraid to be called out as not attentive or swift enough in my duty. As ushers, what we’re doing is quite visible, and so there was no hiding place for my shortcomings.
I Was Relying on My Own Strength
As I asked God why I was serving, I was reminded that my intention was to offer my five loaves and two fishes. While serving, however, I became reliant on what I could do with my own strengths and became critical of myself.
I remembered the story of Mary and Martha serving the Lord when He visited their home. While Martha was busy with all the preparation and had many concerns, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened attentively to Him, and Jesus praised Mary for her posture (Luke 10:41-42). The words of Jesus felt like a gentle rebuke about my posture—I was concerned about my performance as an usher and not at all resting in Jesus.
By resting in God’s grace, I am free to serve with the abilities He has given me. I may not be the perfect usher, but God isn’t looking for a perfect one. Rather, He wants a submissive servant who will heed His call to serve with a posture of rest—an identity secure in Him. When I seek to please God, I am no longer chained by my own unfounded fear of people’s judgements. I am free to smile as wide as I can behind my face mask while carrying out my duty. I am free to serve by the grace He supplies (1 Peter 4:11).
God’s faithful love for me has convicted my heart. In a time when the church requires ushers, should I not arise to heed the call? Striving to be perfect on my own terms only stems from my sinful pride, and would cause me to miss out on God’s purpose for me to mature in servanthood. Becoming competitive would not be pleasing to God, as He has called us to be humble and gentle, loving others and keeping the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-6).
With my mind renewed by this insight, I’m challenged to put on the mind of Christ as I approach my task. More than offering a smile and a welcome greeting and showing worshippers to their seats, my ushering is an exercise to depend on God, to answer His call for my growth and maturity.
It was uncomfortable stepping out into ushering, but I’m glad I did it. If you, too, are looking to step out of your comfort zone to serve the body of Christ, or if you find yourself eager to pursue a dream that God has planted in your heart, I’d like to encourage you to grab the opportunity and go for it. You will be surprised to see what God has in store for you!