Have you ever wished for more time in a day or gone to bed feeling as if important matters were left undone? We learn quickly that no one can change the hours of a day. With everything that “needs” our attention life can become too busy for our own good. We have family, work duties and social needs challenging our scheduling skills. For religious people you can throw God somewhere into the mix .
Sadly that is exactly what many of us do; we just try to fit God somewhere into our busy schedules. So, without much thought and planning and if we have a little time left over, we might give the Lord a few moments of our week. We talk about loving and serving Christ but we don’t always do a good job of giving Him our time. Brethren this should not be.
When you responded to God’s invitation to become a Christian through baptism you made a pledge to serve Him above all else (Matt. 12:29-30). By your choice to accept Christ you agreed to put off fleshly appetites (Col. 3:1-11), materialism (1 Tim. 6:17), and earthly concerns (Matt. 6:19-34). You also consented to a life of godly service (Rom. 12:1). Too many of us spend so much time on physical interests that we almost leave God out.
If you want to know what godly service looks like then consider the life of Christ. Jesus came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38). He served all humanity by offering Himself in our place (Matt. 20:26-28). The Lord taught His disciples about service by washing their feet (John 13:3-15). Jesus wanted the apostles to understand the value of waiting on others. Clearly, one of major themes throughout the New Testament is how God’s people serve.
Christians are not the only ones who help others. Countless service organizations exist today without any religious ties. One reason so many are willing to volunteer is that serving is fulfilling and gratifying. In fact, people who serve get more out of it than the ones helped.
Because time is finite and limited, and no one can do everything, we must choose how, when and who to help. So the reality is we decide what areas of need are most important to us. Many people just do what feels good to them, without any higher direction. It becomes about my interests and wishes usually based on my philosophy and values. This opens the door for perverted service and can result in us leaving undone more important matters. For example, a secularist has no time for God because he focuses on worldly problems. While people may benefit from these efforts, godless service leaves out what man needs most. Food, clothing and shelter don’t matter much without spiritual help and God’s forgiveness. (Matt. 16:26)
I believe most of us would agree the world’s population is mainly religious, but that’s not enough to serve properly. A misguided faith is no better than an absence of faith because both involve error and perversion. Again, the first step to Divine service is to believe the truth and then obey God’s Will.
Christians serve because they understand what’s needed by all people. So we begin by providing for spiritual matters and then move on to help those with physical needs. All of this comes about out of respect for God and His Word, and then we’re motivated by His goodness and love. While some people serve for personal glory and attention, Christians serve to draw attention to God (2 Cor. 9:12-13). Others help only when they have an interest in the cause, but Saints do the work because God has an interest in the cause (2 Cor. 8:1-5).
Most people are more than willing to help with a cause that concerns them or someone they love. For example, if I’ve had cancer I am more likely to help with cancer charities. We may be more willing to lend a hand to family, friends, and neighbors than someone we don’t know. It is rare for people to help out their enemies or someone who has been ugly to them. But even though it is not the most natural thing to do, Christians help people like this (Matt. 5:43-48).
Service is a developed attitude and life-style fueled by understanding the value of helping others. We learn that by doing good we feel good. So by serving God and putting Him first in our lives we feel good spiritually. We benefit from helping others to grow spiritually and by encouraging them to do right. Acts of charity and hospitality profit those who give of their time and resources. Helping friends and neighbors, or even strangers, make us feel better about ourselves. Being kind to our enemies gives us a sense of fulfillment and worth. Let us never forget that we are here to serve God first and then one another.
But what can I really accomplish; after all I’m just one person? There will always be those who need service and no matter how much I do it will never be enough. I can’t take care of everyone nor do I have sufficient resources to eradicate every need. Do not be discouraged, God expects us to do only what we can. Besides, you might be surprised at what you can accomplish. A young boy by the name of David rescued Israel from Goliath and the Philistines (1 Sam. 17). Noah saved God’s Creation by building an ark (Gen. 6-8). And most importantly, don’t forget that Christ saved us by His service (Matt. 18:11). These three examples have one thing in common, they all served God. It is God who makes our service sufficient.
– Terry Starling