Why do you serve in your church? Or perhaps a better question is: why don’t you serve in your church? Paul gave us the example of Christian service in his spiritual son Timothy and today we look at his dear brother Epaphroditus:
“Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.” (Philippians 2:25-30)
Last time we met I said it was not natural to be a servant. Why? Because it is in our nature to seek self first. You don’t have to teach a child to be selfish; he or she is quite capable and one of the first words they add to their vocabulary and overuse is “mine.” So by nature we are selfish.
But what about after we become a Christian? What then? Is it no longer natural to be a servant? Not if you’re truly saved; being a servant becomes part of your nature because you are now part of the family of God. Oswald Chambers explains it this way:
“Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.”
If you’re waiting to be called to serve in your church, it’s going to be a long wait. To serve God is to love God and both should come naturally. It is an outward expression of your love for Christ and His Church. Remember Paul’s admonition earlier from this chapter?
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
Paul warned the Galatian church against quarreling amongst themselves (seems like there was a lot of that going on in the church back then):
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Galatians 5:13-15)
Can you imagine your church receiving that type of admonition? Does it deserve one?
Beloved, if the needs of your church and the outpouring of love to your community are lacking and not being met, it is because your church is not giving the deliberate love-gift of service. If that is so, then I pray you will first examine yourself and see where you have been lacking in your service to God. And once you begin serving, I pray that it will serve as an example unto others who will follow your lead.
Let us be a blessing and not a burden; and let our service be an offering and not an obligation.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers