BUILDING A LIFE OF SERVICE
Some might say the secret to greatness is power and influence. People on Wall Street probably define greatness in terms of your portfolio and assets. Sports lovers define greatness by looking at world records and trophies won. Movie-goers define greatness based on Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. But God says, “My definition is very different.” God says none of those things matter because they don’t last…You’re not going to remember them…God says what’s going to last is service. God says the secret to a great life is…“to be great, you must learn to serve.”
Mark 10:43b: “…whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.” Note the words “great” and “servant”. The Bible says they go together. When you think about it, this concept really does make sense…Aren’t the greatest teachers the ones who serve their students? Great salespeople serve their customers. The key to being a great leader is to serve your followers. The key to being great at anything is to serve the needs of the people who look up to you or depend upon you. God says the more you serve the greater you are. If we look to Jesus to see what best describes living a Christian life, I think the words “give” and “serve” would stand out…That’s what Jesus did.
Jesus said, “For even I didn’t come to be served but to serve others and to give my life as a ransom for many.” Again note: “serve others” and “give my life”…that summarizes the Christian life. Unless I learn how to serve others and unless I learn how to give my life away, I will never be like Jesus Christ. I may claim to be a Christian. I may have doctrine or thoughts or ideas in my mind, but I’m not really a true believer unless I learn how to serve and I learn how to give.
I want to clarify the reasons why the Bible says you should give your life in service to God and to other people…Why that should be the number one priority over your career, over your hobbies, over everything else in your life. God says the top priority in your life after loving God and getting to know Him should be serving other people. Why does He say that? Here are seven good reasons why…
1. I WAS CREATED FOR SERVICE
God made me for that purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created [circle “created”] in Jesus Christ to do good works [that’s called ministry, or service] which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God designed everything on this earth for a purpose. Human beings are here to serve. We are here to help each other. We are here to help make the world a better place. And God says, “I created you for ministry, for service.” Not long ago I found a flashlight that I needed and I tried to turn it on and it wouldn’t work. I hadn’t used it in a long time. When I opened it up the batteries had corroded and leaked all over…Not only were the batteries ruined but the flashlight was ruined. Why? Batteries are made to be used. Human beings are made for service. And when we’re not used in serving other people, we get corroded…ruined on the inside.
2. I AM SAVED FOR SERVICE.
2 Timothy 1:9, “It is God who saved us and chose us for His holy work.” What is a holy work? The Bible word for it is called ministry. Another word for that is service. Anytime you see the word service in the Bible, it’s the same word as ministry. Anytime you see the word ministry in the Bible, it’s the same word for service. The Bible says you were saved to serve. God didn’t just put you on this earth to take up space…to sit around, watch TV, and eat Pringles…Have you ever thought why, the moment we become Christians, God doesn’t just zap us and we go instantly to heaven? You know where you’re going eventually so why did He leave you here? He has something for you to do. Part of that involves your ministry, your service. You are left here for a reason.
3. I’VE BEEN CALLED BY GOD TO SERVICE.
This phrase, “God’s call”…I used to think it was some kind of special thing for special people…Missionaries were called or priests were called of God or pastors or nuns had the call…That it was some kind of special thing. You’re walking down the street one day and you’re zapped and “called” by God…From now on I must serve God with all my life. But the fact is the Bible says every Christian is called. The Bible says the call to salvation and the call to service are identical. The moment you signed up and said, “Yes, I want to go to heaven and I want to have my sins forgiven” you also said, “And I’m willing to serve you the rest of my life.” If you are a Christian, you are called to ministry. Not everybody is a pastor…But all Christians are ministers…servants. We ought to print up little cards for everybody here: Your name/Minister of Jesus Christ. That’s what you are.
4. I’VE BEEN GIFTED FOR SERVICE.
God did not give you your talents just to spend on yourself…He gave you those abilities to help other people. 1 Peter 4:10, “God has given each of you some special abilities. Be sure to use them to help each other.” That’s called service.
5. I AM COMMANDED TO SERVE OTHERS.
That’s good enough reason alone if that’s the only one – God says do it. Matthew 20:28 Jesus said, “Your attitude must be like my own, for I did not come to be served, but to serve.” Circle “must“…It is not an option. To call myself a Christian and not be involved in ministry is a contradiction. Human nature wants to be served. Human nature asks, “Who’s going to meet my needs? Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help my hurts?” Me! Me! Me! But the Christian changes that around. The Christian says, “Whose needs can I meet? Who can I help? Who can I serve?” This view realizes the more I give my life away, the more God blesses my life. When I worry about the needs of other people, God takes care of mine.
6. BECAUSE I OWE EVERYTHING TO CHRIST.
Romans 12:1 “Because of God’s great mercy to us offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service.” Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for me. And even if he never did anything else, I owe him my life. I don’t serve God out of duty. I don’t serve God out of fear. I don’t serve God out of some kind of guilt. I serve God out of gratitude. I serve him out of joy, not out of duty. I owe him my life.
7. I WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY SERVICE.
One day God is going to have me stand before him and he’s going to say, “What did you do with what I gave you? That talent? That ability? Did you use it to help anybody else? Were you ever unselfish? Did you ever give anything back or were you just a taker in life? What did you do with what I gave you?”
“I’m sorry, God. I was kind of busy. I had other plans that I thought were really cool and I never had time to start on your plan. I was just too busy to serve anybody else.”
God’s going to say, “Excuse me? What were you thinking? Do you think I put you on earth to live for yourself? Of course not! The real happiness and joy I intended for your life is found in giving your life away. You missed it!”
I really want Jesus to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The thing is, if I am not serving others now; if I am not using God’s gifts to make the world a better place; what I’m likely to hear is, “What were you thinking?” What’s worse, I will have to see the disappointment in his eyes.
The real question now is this: What are you going to do about it? In light of this…knowing all these things we just talked about…that SERVICE is a top priority for God…What are you going to do? Are you going to be a hearer of God’s word today? Or are you going to be a doer? Are you going to get up off your blessed assurance and do something?
You’ve got two options…One, you can walk out of here, go get in your car, say, “I made it through one more sermon; let’s have lunch” Is that why God brought you here this morning?
OR you can do something different today, tomorrow and every day after that…You can choose to use at least one of these 7 reasons to motivate you to serve…You can pick one thing to do in service to another person and do that every day for a month…Then pick something else…You can volunteer here at church to serve on a committee…Guess what – it’s nominations time again! You can help put the Centennial Celebration together; you can volunteer with our Youth Ministry; you can join the Helping Hands Mission Team…There is no end to things you can do – right now – to serve God…The best reason to serve is knowing that this is the very thing God put you on earth for. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.