As a pastor one of my favorite things to do is help people get closer in their relationship with God. I love teaching and talking about prayer. It is amazing to see how God speaks to people through the power of Scripture. Watching them find their place in the body of Christ is amazing. These are just some of the practices that bring us closer to God, but there is one thing that many believers leave out that I feel is absolutely essential to deep fellowship with the Living God and that is service.
Knowing that there are cynical people among us, let me go ahead and tell you what serving isn’t. It isn’t just another way for the church, or some preacher to control your life, and believe it or not, I have heard people make those comments. It isn’t just showing up and doing something during one of the services at your church. It isn’t staying “busy for the Kingdom”. It’s deeper than that.
Serving is worship. It flows out of a lifestyle of submission and discovery. God created each of us with specific works in mind. Which is pretty incredible to think about. God has had his hand in redeeming your mistakes, strengthening your weaknesses, and sharpening your strengths so that you can perform your unique role in His plan. You are that special. How crazy is it to think that God loves you that much! What an incredible thing to think that God has entrusted us with nothing short of the redemption and reconciliation of the world?
But many Christians still let those opportunities escape them. They miss the chance to serve and there are a ton of reasons why. We are busy. We don’t know where to start. No one has asked us. We doubt our ability. Many of the justifications seem pretty legit, but even so, they still keep us from living out God’s plan for us and that keeps us from the relationship with God that our souls crave. You were made to serve Him. Your deepest satisfaction will come when God uses your past pain to bring present help to someone who is hurting. When your unique insights help someone else take that next life changing step that they need to take. Those moments almost never happen in comfortable places, but they do when we are courageous enough to take that step and break out of that bubble.
I have found that there is nothing like ringside seats to life change. There is so much to be gained from living a life of service that it almost sounds selfish to start doing it, but obedience always leads to God’s blessings, and if God sees nothing wring with that why should I?
Real service is all about getting out of yourself by stepping into more of the self God designed you to be. It’s part of God’s paradoxical nature. To be a leader, you have to take on the nature of a slave. We are strongest when we embrace our weakness. And we never gain more than when we have given everything away.
Part of the reason why we have the Growth Track is to help people make these discoveries. To finally escape the trap of piety without living a life of purpose. If you are a believer who feels stuck in their walk and you can’t point to a place where you consistently serve, with all the love in my heart I just have to tell you, that’s the problem. When we read the Bible and pray we encounter God in real and powerful ways but, the surest sign of real spiritual growth is sacrificial service. You can’t follow a God who would sacrifice his Son for your salvation without sacrificing yourself for someone else.
So where are you serving? What ministry is God calling you to lead? Where is there a need that you can meet? When was the last time you asked a leader what you can do, and meant it? There are a few specific ways Jesus told us to pray, one of the more dramatic ones was this:
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
This morning we gathered and prayed that prayer for you. What step are you needing to take? If you have any questions, I would love for you to send them my way: Kelly@lifepointlebanon.com