The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 20

Serving The Lord

Christ our Example

Jesus our Saviour and Master came to earth “not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28) He also said, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matt 23:11-12)

Jesus Christ emptied Himself, or made Himself to be nothing. He gave up heaven’s glory, putting aside all of His divine attributes, to become a human; to serve others He humbled Himself, and obeyed God, even to die on the cross for our sakes. Christ Jesus left an example for us to follow. (Phil 2:5-9)

Serving the Lord by Choice

After the Hebrew people conquered the Promised Land which God had promised them, they rested from going out to war. Joshua their leader challenged them to serve God and not to serve the gods of the people around them. Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15). Indeed, we are people who make choices everyday – what to eat, wear, where to go, what to do and with whom. As followers of Christ, we need to also choose whom we will serve. Will you choose to serve Christ the way Joshua and his family did? It is easy to come to church for worship and disappear immediately after the last “Amen”.

But it is a difficult decision for many Christians to commit themselves to service to God and the church.

Moses, before he passed the leadership of the Israelites to Joshua, also challenged his people to fear the Lord and to serve Him:

“And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” (Deut 10:12-13)

As Moses and Joshua chose to serve God, would you also choose to serve Him?

Serving the Lord without hypocrisy

The Apostle Paul appeals to the followers of Christ to serve God with their bodies. He says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom 12:1).

Serving the Lord is not as easy as one thinks. A Christian lady had been bringing her best dishes to church for many years. Initially, others in the church had complimented her on her cooking skills, and expressed how they enjoyed the food she brought. After some time, a newcomer brought her delicious dishes too, and many praised her. The former was much offended because she did not receive any more compliments after a few years. She soon stopped bringing food to church as she felt that no one showed appreciation of her cooking, and eventually she left the church. This lady was willing to ‘serve’ with her dishes only when she received compliments.

Is serving Christ dependent on people’s praises and compliments? Surely this is not the case. Our Lord Jesus calls us to love and to serve one another. In serving the Lord, we need to serve Him sincerely from the heart. In serving others, we serve the Lord too. Paul says, “Let love be without dissimulation” (Rom 12:9) – which means, our love towards others should be without hypocrisy. We should serve one another sincerely. Christ said to His disciples, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mk 9:41)

If others have offended us with their words or actions, we should remind ourselves that we are serving the Lord, not serving men. We ought to forgive those who hurt us whether knowingly or unknowingly. Let us not harden our hearts towards those who may have hurt us; for when we harden our hearts against others, we are also hardening our hearts against God. The focus of our service in church is God, not those around us. Thus, it will not matter if others do not show their appreciation. We desire the appreciation of God because it is Him whom we serve.

In serving God, the Apostle Paul challenges us to “Not [be] slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” (Rom 12:11). When we grow weary in service, we should go to God in prayer again. It is said that “prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” God’s words in Isaiah 40:31 tell us that “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of God’s Word. As followers of Christ, let us read and study His words diligently and faithfully. His Word will guide and encourage us in our service to Him. The example of the Good Samaritan encourages us to show love and care even towards those who despise us, or who may not like us. Truly, let our service be out of love, and a love which is without dissimulation.

Serve the Lord with a Smile

At the end of our worship service each Sunday, we all sing the closing benediction which is taken from Num 10:24-26:

“The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make his face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”

When we pray to have the Lord shine His face upon us, we are asking God to smile upon us, and to show us His favour. Similarly, we should do likewise as we serve each other in church. In whatever we do, let us do it heartily unto God, and with a beautiful smile too. (Col 3:23)

Serve the Lord punctually, comprehensively, unconditionally

Beloved, let us make it a point to come punctually for the worship service. We come each Sunday to meet the King of kings and Lord of lords. Therefore, let us come early; if possible, come at 9.00 am, to prepare our hearts to meet our God and King. We should wait upon Him, and not let the King wait for us. Worshipping God is a form of service to Him. Thus, we should serve Him by coming to church on time so that we have time to put aside all anxious or burdened thoughts, and prepare ourselves to meet with our Heavenly Father. Though some may be caught in a traffic jam sometimes, (or need to answer nature’s sudden call), we can choose to make an effort to leave the house earlier next time in anticipation of any delay on the road (or ensure we go to the toilet before going to church). If we go to school or work on time, we should even be more than punctual when we want to meet with our God.

Serving God also requires us to be comprehensive in our service. As we do not do our school work or office work haphazardly, likewise we want to serve God with the correct attitude as well. Your service in church, whether a pointer for the powerpoint slides, or giving out the bulletins, or reading the Scriptures, or arranging the flowers or teaching a Bible lesson – it should be done comprehensively. That is to say, we will do all to ensure that whatever is presented to God for that worship service is prepared well so that everyone gets to enjoy the worship service, or is much uplifted because all things were done orderly and in a manner that gives glory to God. If we have failed in any aspect of the service, we can learn from our shortcomings and make an effort to improve the next time. God prefers a heart that serves Him in obedience than one who thinks that he/she is making sacrifices for God (1 Sam 15:22 – “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.)

When we serve God, do we expect anything in return from Him? Some believers seem to adopt an attitude of “I serve God because He promises (or the preacher promises that God will) bless me with riches, good results, and much more.” Some may start serving humbly, but soon expect God to return good favours to him for his service. Some even believe that it is their right to get things from God as a result of their service. Thus our perspective of service to God becomes returns-oriented, rather than God-centred. Cain was unhappy when God did not seem pleased with his offering, while God was pleased with Abel’s offering. Cain’s unhappiness led to his killing of his brother (Gen 4:1-8).

We love God because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). Seeking God and serving Him must come from our sincere love for God. Our serving Him must not be dependent on what we hope to get from Him. Jesus rebuked the crowds who followed Him, and said: “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.” (Jn 6:26)

If we desire to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God, we need to serve Him unconditionally. That is, serving Him and accepting whatever He gives to us. Our contentment in serving is because we serve a living and true God who loves and cares for us. Our satisfaction in service and in our life is thus based on just being in God’s presence, regardless of circumstances we are placed in. Satan does not want us to love or serve God. He tries to instill jealousy, envy and bitterness in our hearts. He repeatedly reminds us of past failures, disappointments and unhappiness which often builds up in a discontented heart. But we are reminded that the aim of the Christian’s life is to love and enjoy God, and to glorify Him forever. Our goal in life is not for ourselves or our loved ones, but it is to live for Christ, who loved us and gave Himself freely for us.

Beloved, let us follow Christ’s example. Let us love God wholeheartedly, and serve Him without any conditions.

Pastor Bob Phee

Leave a Reply