Our Life as Service

When I graduated from seminary, I received a very unusual gift after I had shaken the president's hand. As I was about to leave the platform and descend down the steps, I received a decorative towel that was meant to be a reminder that we are to follow in our Lord’s steps in serving others. It was such a nice towel that I simply set it aside and admired it. To be honest with you though, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, even though it was a great reminder of our calling to servanthood!

To be a follower of Christ is a call to be a conduit of the gospel and to serve others! Because of Christ’s sacrificial death and perfectly righteous life, He is the standard bearer for us as followers of the One who gave His life away for others. Today, as the called out church we have this defined job description for our lives. Our culture says, “Live your life for yourself, and what makes you happy. Live your life for the weekend. Live your life for tomorrow (retirement) and enjoy the last few years of your life doing your favorite hobby.” But, as we look closer in the Scriptures we see that the message of Christ is completely opposite and incompatible with that message. Is retirement wrong? No way. Is it wrong to waste your life dreaming of tomorrow, the weekend, or retirement? Absolutely. You see, how we spend our time each day is ultimately how we spend our life. Life is made up of moments and hours and minutes, and all of these precious moments are designed to be lived as praise and service for our Creator God. (Ps.100:2, 1 Cor. 10:31) By the very nature of our position in Christ, and in what He has done for us, we are called to live life as a ministry of service simply because we are followers of Christ. To put it another way, to be a Christian is to be a servant.

In our lives we are always serving someone. We are are either serving self or Christ. Matthew 6:24 says accurately, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” When we serve self, we live a wasted life. But when we are foolish enough to submit our lives under the Lordship of Christ, He can do far more with it than we could ever imagine for His glory!

One day a little boy brought his lunch with him as he went to hear Jesus teach. The boy could have kept his lunch to himself, but he had enough faith to share it when he heard of the great need. He believed that Jesus could use his lunch for greater purposes and he was right. Jesus took his lunch and miraculously used it to feed the multitudes.

That is what Christ does with our life when we offer it to Him as a sacrifice of praise. If we hoard ourself, and time and resources we live an absorbed life that is truly a waste. But when we spend our life as a poured out offering before the Lord, we will find that it is in His strength that we find true life. You see, Jesus doesn’t want our stuff, He wants us. When we give our life, and time, and resources to Christ and entrust Him with it, He is able to multiply it in ways that you and I could never imagine for His glory. Missionary Ruth Stull said it like this, “If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad.” I think she has it right. We see that by nature of who we are in Christ, servant hood is the calling of all believers. When we truly understand this, we see that service is not a means to replace the finished work of Christ with our effort, and to gain favor with God before salvation or after salvation. We don’t serve the Lord “in order to” gain favor or something from God, but “because of” what Christ has done.

You see its all of grace from beginning to end! Christ trains us to see as He sees and to view with eternal eyes instead of temporal eyes. Biblical service leads us to train our eyes outward. Instead of thinking we can actually do too much for Christ and His bride the church, maybe we should try. We will find that when we invest ourself in His work, it is an eternal work. I think God’s message for me was not to place that towel on a shelf somewhere, but the admonition, “Go ahead and use your nice decorative towel. It’s okay to use it, and get it dirty.”

Comments for this post have been disabled