This week, our Sunday School teacher encouraged us to evaluate the question, “What is motivating our service to the Kingdom?” It is an excellent question with many options for answers. Here are a few.
We can simply serve out of duty. After all, look at what God has done for us. He has created this amazing planet with all its beauty and wonder. He provides our daily needs.
We can also serve with a sense of debt. We realize we have failed to keep the standard that God has placed before us, and therefore try to equal the weights of the scale by performing some good deeds.
We can’t overlook the labors we perform for recognition. Who doesn’t like to have their works noticed?
Or, we can serve because we love our Savior. We can follow the example of Paul’s letter to Philemon. Paul writes this letter from prison, where he has been sent for preaching the Gospel. He appeals to Philemon to receive the run away slave, Onesimus, with love and as a brother. Philemon is fully aware that Paul has the authority to instruct him to do so. But Paul wants Philemon to make decisions based on his identity with the risen Lord.
Some important points to consider before entering into service to the Kingdom may be:
Am I filling a position because no one else will? Am I serving to appease or even please someone else? Do I feel a desire to be recognized for the service? Is the service a duty or a debt that I see as owed to God? Am I anticipating it being finished so I can quit? Do I feel like the service will make me more pleasing to God?
The answers to these questions and more could be evidence that my service is motivated by something other than my love for Jesus. When I serve with a sense of debt or duty, I am overlooking an important truth. In Christ, the believer stands righteous and justified before God. There is no way to be more pleasing to God than to be in Christ. Our labors are merely a reflex produced by His love for us.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before-hand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2: 8 – 10