Gospel Driven Service

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

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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3 Responses to Gospel Driven Service

  1. mtsweat says:

    Great addition to the post. Thanks for the input.

  2. Great discussion, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. We often view our “serving” within the context of our local church fellowship. Of course, many of us serve here in big and small ways. When we are serving in these needed ministries I think a combination of motives is ok. I think that all we do should be motivated by grateful hearts. Our King, who calls us to serve Him, has laid down his life, so that we might lay down our lives for him. When we understand this, we WANT to do the same.

    At the same time, we can be motivated by our love for Christ and also a sense of obligation, for we are obligated to follow him and to do what He tells us to do. When God called me, once again, to build a worship team from scratch and to lead the worship ministry, I didn’t want to do it. Not because I didn’t love Christ, but because I had done it so many times and new what it entailed. Ultimately, I said yes to the opportunity. My decision was based on three things: 1) There was a serious need in the congregation I was a part of, and I was the only one who could meet that need and not have to be paid to do it. 2)Through the need, God helped me see that He wanted me to do it. 3)Because He is my King and Master, and I do love him, I did what he directed me to do.

    You can see that my motives were mixed: I was obligated to do what the King told me to do. I did it willingly, because I want to serve him. I did it gratefully, because of what the Savior did for me on Calvary.

    You make a very good point that if the main thrust of why we serve the congregation is somehow to make us more acceptable to God, we are missing it.

  3. bickleyhouse says:

    Very good questions! Good food for thought.

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