For the past 2 weeks we have been talking about Christian service and why as Believers we should be serving in our local church.
For some reason the idea of Christian service has flown out the window in our “cultured” view of church. The question, “What can I do to serve the church?” has suddenly turned into, “What is the church doing to serve me?”
In most churches, there are many people who just show up on Sunday morning. They are busy during the week and truly have no interest in serving at the church. Showing up on Sunday is enough time and energy for them. They feel as if they have done their part and checked church off the list of things to do.
Have you been there? Maybe, you didn’t think those exact thoughts but you were right there in the boat with them? Many of us have been.
Some of us even now sit in church recognizing skills that we have and how they could serve the church well. But, instead we act like the church is there to serve us on Sundays and stay out of our lives the rest of the week.
So… what has to change?
Like I mentioned in both of the previous blog posts, I believe that we first have to realize that God has blessed each of us with gifts and talents and that we are should be using them for His glory.
1 Peter 4:10 says,
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
We were given gifts not for our own benefit, but rather to serve Christ. God always make time for us, so why it is so hard for us to make to the serve Him and His people. Christ came to serve yet we sometimes say we don’t have the time use the gifts He gave us to serve Him. As Christians, we should strive to be more like Christ, and in doing so we must serve.
Mark 10:45 says,
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Catch this, our salvation isn’t the finish line… instead it is the sound of the starting pistol.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says,
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We have been saved and created in Christ Jesus FOR good works. We have been created and redeemed by the work of Jesus so that we can use our gifts and work for His glory and the expansion of His kingdom! In fact James 2:26 puts it this way,
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Let’s not allow ourselves to believe the lie that we have been saved to be served. Let’s serve and see what a difference it makes. Below are some more thoughts as to why we should be serving the local church.
(If you haven’t read the first two parts of this series be sure to go back and read those!)
- The Commission is great and the Laborers are few.
We all know what the Great Commission says. What I find interesting is that Jesus didn’t just tell us to do it… instead Jesus commissioned us and then demonstrated the action Himself time and again in His personal ministry here on earth.
Until we relate everything we do to the gospel and our salvation we will be missing out on a big part of the reason why we’re even here on this planet. You’ll notice that we don’t get saved and immediately vanish up to Heaven.
We get saved for a task! Our salvation verifies our purpose!
If we are to carry out the Great Commission then we must by using our gifts in service to the Lord. We must serve! If 10% of the people in our churches do 90% of the work then we have reason to be concerned about the way we as Believers are living and what we are teaching both by words and actions. I personally believe those percentages to be true… and because of that I urge all of us to strive to be the 10%. If you aren’t serving… then you are the 90%. Shame on you.
If you don’t want to serve then do so anyways! Our serving isn’t for our own self-fulfillment. Serve for the benefit of the Body. The harvest is great and ready to be collected… but the laborers are few.
- Children tend to emulate what they see, not what they hear.
“Do it for the children” used to be a fairly popular quote or thing to say. In all actuality it is a good saying! We know that kids are always watching and they emulate what they see. Most people have funny stories from their childhood of them doing or saying something that they weren’t taught to do or say… most of the time it isn’t a positive thing either!
How does that happen?
In my opinion that happens because the best teaching doesn’t come by being taught, instead it comes by being caught. You can tell a child what to do a thousand times until you are blue in the face… but sometimes they have to see someone doing it to truly comprehend. My Dad has always been someone who could “fix” things or solve problems… sometimes as a kid he would ask me to do a task and I truly could not understand what it was that he wanted me to do or how to do it, but I always loved when he would show me how. It was by example that I learned!
I don’t think it would be false of me to say that most parents who bring their kids to church in hopes of their children finding Jesus for themselves and one day serving the Lord. In my own area of ministry I have noticed an interesting trend… the parents who serve often have children who serve. The parents that don’t often have children that don’t. This goes along perfectly with what we just discussed.
How can we expect our children to do something that the aren’t being shown?
In fact, if our kids aren’t serving we should evaluate our own level of service… maybe they are just following our example.
What are our children learning about positive, heart-motivated ministry by watching us? Do you want children that want to serve the Lord?
Then show them what it looks like.
- I will forge long-lasting and valuable friendships.
One of the major benefits of working for the Lord is the genuine friendships that are forged through serving alongside others. Those to whom we feel the closest in life are typically those with whom we work. One time I was taking a family ministry class and the professor said that he had a groundbreaking idea as to how to start a healthy men’s ministry and that it was as simple as giving them a task to do. At first I thought he was trying to be humorous until I recognized the truth in that statement. The close connection we have with our coworkers often surpasses even that which we share with our own neighbors. We unite around a task, a goal, or a purpose. Service often goes beyond barriers that cannot be crossed in conversation alone.
Romans 16 is a odd chapter that many skip over in Paul’s writings. In Romans 16 we see Paul address others who were serving in ministry alongside him or for the same purpose. He calls them each by name and provides encouragement and direction. Why is that even included for us to read today? I think part of the reason is so we can observe the interconnection and relationship strengthening that comes along with serving the Lord. Paul genuinely dresses and cares for those whom serve alongside him for the Lord.
Ministry partners are the best lifetime friends and great sources of encouragement.
Do you need better friends? Then find a ministry to get involved in within your church.
- Our service shows our love for the Bride.
Love for Christ is accompanied by love for His Bride. Our church family is just that… it is our spiritual family.Imagine having the task of cooking dinner and your spouse and kids are waiting to eat. Could you ever look at them and say, “I don’t feel like cooking tonight so you are just going to have to go hungry”?
I doubt it. We serve those whom we love… even if sometimes it is an inconvenience. Love for the church means a heart that desires to give. The Bible speaks strongly about the church being our family, even more than our flesh and blood families. Sunday is not a chance to take a break from family—it’s a chance to serve our true family.
When you’re part of a body that loves and serves and gives, a beautiful bond forms. You see people serving in the background, and you praise God for them. You see the joy of service in others, and you want to follow suit. You see a need, and you long to meet it. Serving in our local church is not meant to meet our needs for self-fulfillment or self-worth; it’s about the joy found through self-denial.
Christ loved the Bride enough to die… what are you willing to sacrifice?
Your time is a good place to start.
Mother Teresa said,
Prayer in action is love, and love in action is service. Try to give unconditionally whatever a person needs in the moment. The point is to do something, however small, and show you care through your actions by giving your time … We are all God’s children so it is important to share His gifts. Do not worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs … We feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but that ocean would be less without that drop.