Today is Labor Day, and I want to salute some of the most faithful laborers I know: the Wednesday night supper volunteers at First Baptist Church. These are the people who serve our plates, re-fill our glasses, take our trays, and generally wait on us as if we were royalty while we enjoy good food and good conversation around the tables.
Beanie Brooks hosted an appreciation dinner for them last Wednesday night,* before the fall season got underway, and I asked for the privilege of expressing my appreciation. I mentioned that passage in Acts 6—one of the first disputes in the early church—where some of the Greeks began to complain that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The Twelve gathered the church together and said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word in order to wait on tables. Therefore, choose seven men from among yourselves who are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them” (Acts 6:1-3).
I often refer to that passage when I’m ordaining deacons. I talk about how the church chose seven men and presented them to the Apostles, who prayed and laid hands on them. It really is the first “ordination” in the New Testament. But I also usually point out what these seven men were ordained to do—wait on tables.
So, even though we don’t ordain our Wednesday night volunteers, I hope we will gain an appreciation for what important work it is to wait on tables: to make sure that everyone has what they need, to see to it that no one is neglected.
Our Wednesday night volunteers do that beautifully, from the table where I buy my ticket, to the place where Bob Vance takes it up, to the serving line where smiling volunteers fill my plate, to the moment Allen or Charlotte Brown offers to fill my coffee cup, to the help I get when I put my tray on the rack for the dishwashers. In and around all of that is Beanie Brooks, moving from table to table, talking to people, patting on them, asking them if they need anything. I always feel cared for on Wednesday nights.
No wonder they ordained the people who waited on tables in the Book of Acts: it’s a ministry. And on this Labor Day I am especially grateful for this particular labor.
Thank you, Wednesday night volunteers!
*Steve Booth took the picture, and if you click on it once and then click on it again you may actually be able to see some of the faces and identify some of the people who take such good care of us on Wednesday nights. Remember, Wednesday night suppers begins again this Wednesday, September 4. Carl Johnson, President of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, will be speaking to us afterward. Supper begins at 5:00; cost is $6.00. Everyone is welcome.