How to Serve

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (v. 15).  

- Joshua 24:14–15

Unlike the topics we have discussed thus far — Bible study, prayer, and worship — some Christians do not recognize that service is a means of santification. This is unfortunate because service is vital for maturity in Christ. 

Our call to be servants of the Lord is a theme woven throughout the Old and New Testaments. God sent Moses to the pharaoh thousands of years ago so that the king might release His people to serve Him (Ex. 8:1). Paul in Galatians 1:10 and many other passages refers to himself as a “servant” or “slave” (from the Greek doulos) of Christ. Few would argue with our Father’s command to serve Him; however, we often forget that the major way in which we serve our Creator is through service to His people. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 20:26, greatness in the kingdom of God belongs to those who serve its citizens.

Whether we are compensated for our service or simply volunteer, we all have gifts that are to be used for the building up of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:1–11). And we fulfill our roles only when we put our gifts to use. Certain tasks may seem less “glamorous” to us than others, but that is a function of our celebrity culture, which prizes those gifts that are most visible in the congregation. Yet God does not view some gifts as inherently better than others (vv. 12–31). The apostles appointed deacons to serve tables and meet the needs of the widows and orphans not because it was beneath their dignity to attend to these tasks. Instead, they gave this job to others because their primary gift and calling was to pray and teach (Acts 6:1–7). Those with more “prominent” roles in the local church are not greater in the Lord’s eyes than those who work behind the scenes; they just have different gifts.

If your gift is to teach, then you must teach. If you are gifted to work with children, then you must volunteer to work in some aspect of family ministry. Whatever your gift, Jesus commands you to exercise it so that you will become skilled in its use and better help His church grow up into maturity (Eph. 4:11–14). May we work as He has gifted us, and may we never be called lazy and unfaithful servants (Luke 19:11–27). 

Coram Deo

Any one who leads Christian ministry in the church will tell you that his most challenging task is recruiting volunteers. Most churches depend on the same faithful people for everything while the rest of the congregation is content to just show up and watch. Which kind of Christian are you? Are you a faithful servant, or do you let others do the work? Call your pastor or elder today and ask him where you can serve in the ministry of the church.

Passages for Further Study

2 Chron. 2:11–16; 4:11
John 13:1–17
Galatians 5:13–14
1 Peter 4:10–11

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