Matthew West has a new song titled “Do Something.” In this song he talks about Christians who “live like angels of apathy,” when it comes to serving and taking care of the needs of the needy. Imagine if angels were as apathetic as Christians. What if the 80/20 rule prevailed among the heavenly angel community as it does in the earthly church community? You know the 80/20 rule: that’s where 80% of the work in and out of the church is done by 20% of the people. We’ve almost cheerfully embraced that Christian coolness towards service.
Too many Christians want to be served rather than serve. I praise God that is not the case at my church. Last week we had evening vacation Bible school and close to 80 volunteers worked in all areas needed to make our VBS a smashing success.
A servant’s heart is the true sign of obedience and commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught the sons of Zebedee (the Apostles James and John), that greatness is in serving, which was the antithesis of First Century religion:
“Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43-44)
There are some in the church who serve to be seen. They will not do any service that requires them to work quietly behind the scenes with those who have a true heart of service and love for the Lord. These are the ones who look to receive glory from men, which is the opposite of what the Bible prescribes:
“With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:7)
The greatest display of service was when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. The significance of that act is often lost or at least diluted in modern day study of this passage in Scripture. It is important that we understand how lowly of a person culturally it was that would wash someone else’s feet. That person was a bondservant to the host of whose guests he was washing their feet. It was an act of hospitality of the host and lowly servitude by the slave:
“Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12b-17)
Jesus says that knowing the importance of Christian service is not enough. The blessing is in the doing; it is in obedience. Acknowledging the need while not fulfilling it is an act of disobedience. We do not need to pray about taking part in a ministry that fills the need of a church. Participating in setting up chairs in the sanctuary, cleaning up the church kitchen, helping out in the nursery, or making a meal for a brother or sister are all important ministry needs. It does not require for you to determine whether it is God’s will for you life; it is.
So what is the ultimate purpose of serving in our local churches? We know that needs are being met, but what does it do for the kingdom of God. Jesus makes it clear:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
This is not meant to beat anyone up. In fact, if you are feeling beat up right about now, you might want to ask yourself why.
Are you among the 80% who sit back and let the 20% serve you? Are you above washing the feet of your brothers and sisters?
Have you checked out of church by just checking in for attending church on Sunday, not even attending Sunday school or church fellowships?
If that is you, understand that you are not only depriving others, but also more importantly you are missing out on a blessing.
It’s time to leave the angels of apathy and join the saints of service.
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers
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