Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christian Service

"For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves." Luke 22:27


This Sunday at church, Scott spoke about service in the Christian life, and his thoughts spoke to me so profoundly that I thought I'd share them with you too. He started out by taking us through Exodus, where Moses said to Pharaoh over and over again, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me..." (7:16, 8:1, 8:20, 9:1, 9:13, 10:3 and so on). The Israelite's captivity in Egypt is a picture of the slavery of sin that holds each human born into the world in bondage. Yet the Lord's desire has always been to free us from sin, and He offers salvation to any who would come to Him. But the analogy doesn't stop there...God wanted the children of Israel to be freed, so that they could serve HIM in the wilderness. And so it is with us today, those of us who have been forgiven of our sins by salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ...we know the Lord has saved us with a purpose, to live for His glory and to serve Him while we're on this earth!

Isn't it interesting that the Bible records that those very people--who had seen the miraculous salvation of their God--dare to say this to Moses,
"Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians!" Exodus 14:12


Scott mentioned that he has noticed that many Christians today have a similar attitude, that they would rather not be bothered with Christian service, as they already have plenty to do for the world. The sinful world, which Jesus Christ shed His very blood to free us from, takes higher priority than the things of God. Why is this????!!!! Why are we content to give the majority of our energy and passion to our jobs or hobbies and give the leftovers to Christ?

We looked at several motivations for serving the Lord (I will share the ones I wrote down):
  • Obedience
    "You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him." Deut. 13:4
    "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:14
  • Gratitude
    "Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24
    Our appreciation for how much the Lord has done for us should lead us to lead a life poured out in service to Him!
  • Love for the Lord - (Question to ask yourself: If I could have $1,000 every time I taught a Sunday school class or every time I witnessed to someone, how often would I do those things? Why would I do for money what I will not do out of love for the Lord?)
  • Blessing - Just like the disciples in the verse at the beginning, our thinking may be skewed. We might think we just want to sit at the table and be served, but it is more blessed to give than to receive.
    "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness." Psalm 84:1o
  • Forgiveness-not guilt! - guilt is not a Biblical motivation! In Isaiah 6:6-8 you see the sequence of events: forgiveness of sins, immediate willingness to serve in whatever capacity the Lord asked.
  • Humility - If we really view others as more important than ourselves and our own desires, it will be our natural response to serve them.
    "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Philippians 2:3
  • Love for one another
    "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." 1 Peter 4:8-10
Scott reminded us of 2 Samuel 24:24 where David declares that he won't give to the Lord that which cost him nothing. Service may cost us! It costs time, money, sleep, and energy. But does He deserve any less?

4 Places to serve the Lord:
  • Home
  • School
  • Church
  • Work
My final thought is this one, from Joshua 24:14-16, regarding serving the Lord at home. In this passage Joshua led his family in serving God. It was a choice he made for the whole family, that they would serve the Lord together. But throughout our country today, the American way is to lead our family in serving the world. When we do things together as a family, are we pursuing worldly things (which may not be bad in and of themselves) or are we leading our families to choose to serve the Lord?

These thoughts were so convicting to me...what do you guys think? How can we encourage our children to serve the Lord? And how can we do this as a family?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear this message.

We are always thinking about how to teach our children to serve. First and formost they learn by example. But some of the most treasured times of service we have with them is when we ask them to pray about a need or situation, asking the Lord to show them what we should do. And then doing it all together. Family night is so fun when you get to go by groceries for another family, when your 7 and 5 saw the need!

On a practical note, we have found it very beneficial to have a ministry fund in our budget. Everyone in our family knows it is there, and we talk frequently about how we should use it. It is our goal to give the girls a wider picture of serving. Such as, if we don't eat out for family night this week, we could buy almost a week of groceries for someone!

Training our children to Serve Him with their whole hearts, is right up there with our ultimate goals in raising these precious gifts. I can't wait to hear the tape.

Eryn said...

i agree, teaching by our example as parents is the most important, but also the most convicting. we have recently started reading from the Word at dinner every night at dinner and learning a family verse. our kids love it. also we pray together every night before we put the kids to bed and we pick something specific to pray or praise about. i think this teaches the kids that we can bring small and big things to God and HE will answer in His time.to serve God is to love God and teaching our children to first have a love for God and his word and people will set the base for service.

Eryn said...

i agree, teaching by our example as parents is the most important, but also the most convicting. we have recently started reading from the Word at dinner every night at dinner and learning a family verse. our kids love it. also we pray together every night before we put the kids to bed and we pick something specific to pray or praise about. i think this teaches the kids that we can bring small and big things to God and HE will answer in His time.to serve God is to love God and teaching our children to first have a love for God and his word and people will set the base for service.

Eryn said...

i agree, teaching by our example as parents is the most important, but also the most convicting. we have recently started reading from the Word at dinner every night at dinner and learning a family verse. our kids love it. also we pray together every night before we put the kids to bed and we pick something specific to pray or praise about. i think this teaches the kids that we can bring small and big things to God and HE will answer in His time.to serve God is to love God and teaching our children to first have a love for God and his word and people will set the base for service.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I must say I am very impresssed that you can take such good notes with the boys! :)

I appreciate the examples Scott and I have seen of lives lived in service for the Lord! It has been a huge encouragement, and we are so thankful that our children see it as a normal part of the christian life. We are constantly spurred on to godliness in this way by seeing the examples of the saints around us too. It makes us eager then to look out for the needs of others.

Eryn said...

whoops! didnt mean to comment the same thing 3 times, it wasnt THAT important. sorry for taking up space.

jenica said...

"Reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1), it's rational, it makes sense, it is just what's expected. It's the reason we were saved, to glorify God's sacrifice for us by being a living sacrifice for Him.

Why is it so hard, when it should be reasonable and the obvious thing to do?

I think the more we obey God in it the more we love God and desire to serve Him.

Thanks for the encouragement! I know I need to be spured on in this!

Anonymous said...

I have thought so much recently about the word Victorious and Alive!!!! Why do we get caught up in our little world when these two words that evaded us now our ours though Christ!!! Let us run the race and serve and find that the only time we rest is in the Lord Jesus Christ our blessed Savior.....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that message with us, Rachel. It's such a good reminder that we can find so many ways to serve the Lord by serving others and all we have to do is look right under our noses! I really appreciated everyone's thoughts and ideas on how their families are serving the Lord together! I think I was most impressed by the reminder that our service is really a natural outflowing from a thankful heart..a heart that is responding to the love of the Lord and all that He has done for us. As our love grows for our Saviour, we naturally desire to serve Him more and more in all facets of our lives.