Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Find Your Purpose: Service

When the hammer hits the nail, that is when we know something is getting done. As we have seen, we are called to Discover God, Find our Purpose and finally to share the journey. As we continue to look at ways that we find our purpose in life, we will find that it will almost always involve giving, sacrificing, and effort. What's is the old saying: "Nothing good ever came easy?"  In the Christian lifestyle this is always true. God does not call us to the good life of ease and repose. He calls us to good old fashioned sacrificial service. There is no other way around it. If you want to know God, you will have serve people. 

In 2 Corinthians 4:5 the Apostle Paul wrote: "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake." Paul says that he did two things. He proclaimed Christ and he served. We must come to see these two as inseparable. The two sides of the evangelism coin. If we want an avenue to share the gospel, we must serve. If we want people to hear our words, we must serve. If we want to know God better we must serve. If we want to experience true community, we must serve. 

So what is service? It is work done by one person or a group of people that benefits another. See, it is a person getting outside of himself or herself and doing something for the good of someone else regardless of personal return. Service means I do it simply because it will help you and I am not looking for ANYTHING in return. In fact, the best servants on this earth are the ones you have never seen. They are invisible. They serve without fanfare and without recognition. This is what God calls all of us to do. Serve. 

The tricky thing about service is that we often like to pat ourselves on the back for our service and, thus, lose the entire concept. In the Gospel of John the disciples begin arguing about who is the best. You know the kind of arguments John is talking about. The kind of arguments that overlook personal shortcomings and emphasize the faults of somebody else. The kind of arguments that allow a person to talk big and yet do nothing. Yeah, those arguments. 

Jesus will have none of it. Does he join in the argument? Nope. Does he declare one side the victor? Nope. What does he do? He serves. He takes a towel and some water and washes every one of their feet. Here is Jesus, the Word, the Logos of God in flesh PERFORMING the lowest of tasks. He is serving His disciples. How embarrassing. Think about it. You are one of the disciples who has been railing against your brothers, building yourself up, sitting on your ivory tower when suddenly, you see your master at your feet washing off the dirt you had ignored. 


You see, it is only when we realize that there is no job below us and we have no right to any recognition that we are truly ready to be used by God in any real sense. It is when our loving actions of service match our words that we are true witnesses.

The sad thing about many of today's Christians is that this is precisely where they check out. They draw near to God and experience His wonderful, life-giving presence. They love what He has done and then God does the unthinkable. He says "Serve..." 

And then nothing. 

We search for any and every reason why God couldn't be talking to me. I mean, I work all week, I have to take care of the kids, I go to Church on Sunday, when do I get a little me time? God's response? "Serve..." We respond by telling God "I'll worship on Sunday, that's my service." So we worship, but for some reason, the feeling begins to fade and we find that the church I go to just isn't meeting "my needs" any more so we look for another church that makes "worship" a little more exciting. Then, when we find it, we are satisfied for a short time, that is, until the new wears off and then suddenly, we find ourselves without the motivation to worship and stop going to church altogether. Was it God's fault? Nope. It was mine because I refused to serve. 

When we refuse to serve we will inevitably come to see God as being there to serve us. My happiness will become what drives my life and a funny thing will happen: I won't ever be truly happy. Service keeps us from getting lost inside ourselves. It keeps us from becoming selfish. It makes us thankful for God's blessings. Instead of focusing on all the things I'm missing that could make me happier, I will see all the wonderful things that God has given me. 

Service. It is necessary to a healthy spiritual walk. If you truly know Jesus, you will learn to serve as he served. It must be sacrificial, which means your service will COST YOU SOMETHING. If your "service" to God is simply going to church and staying awake during the sermon then you know nothing of service. Talk to any mature Christian and they will have stories about how God wore them out serving other people at different points in their life. But watch as they smile, experience peace, and reflect on how wonderful it was, even when their hammer hit their thumb. You see, when we serve, we find contentment. We find fulfillment because our lives are no longer about my elusive happiness, but about obedience to our Creator. The Creator who loved and served. 

Find Your Purpose and Serve God because Service will help you rise Above Reality. 

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