Must I serve God?

Dear BPCWAians, We saw last week that Joshua learnt the pre-requisites of serving God – being a clean vessel and having the highest view of God. Many of us have taken our rededication vows of service today. Perhaps there are some of you who are still wondering why must I serve God? What are the common excuses for not serving God when approached?

Why must I serve God? Here are some basic answers to this question that some may have. You must remember that (1) Serving God is a high privilege. God the Omnipotent does not need any of our “help”. He can bring things about and accomplish His aims without any of us. Do remember that He spoke the entire universe into existence. He did not need angels to help Him, let alone man, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding” (Job 38:4). So when we realise this, the question we should ask is, “Why should God let me serve Him?” (2) Serving God is part of obeying His commandments, “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). “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Rom 12:11). Do note that even when God instructs us to serve Him, and as we keep His commandment to serve Him, it is still for our good. So, are you wondering after reading point (1) “alright so our Omnipotent God does not need my service, I might as well live for and serve myself?” Once again, you forget the meaning of privilege, for our good – God is allowing you to be part of His eternal plans. What is done for yourself and this world will pass away and be forgotten. But what is done for Christ will last forever! Instead of wasting your God given time, energy, and resources on things that will not last, God patiently guides us to serve Him instead. God’s common grace gave physical gifts to all men to use in the world and for their living. But  as His children, He gave each one of His child gifts to use for His work, for His kingdom. Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. These are spiritual gifts for the building up of His church. (3) Because we are His possession, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:14). Christ redeemed and purchased us with His Precious Blood by grace and made us fit to serve the living God! How can we forget the infinite price He paid? (4) Christ set the example of service “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). Many of us say, “I want to be more Christ-like to be a good testimony”. Following the example of Christ who left His glorious throne and came to do His Father’s will in ministering to the spiritual need of His people is being Christ-like. When we live to serve self and not bother about His kingdom’s work and the spiritual good of our brethren, we are not being Christ-like at all. If you want to be conformed more to the image of Christ, then have this mindset of serving your heavenly Father at all costs.

Common excuses not to serve God. Well, having known some of the basic reasons why we must serve God, it is still not surprising that our flesh may not naturally like to serve God. And some will come up with many seemingly “valid reasons” which are in reality just excuses. We must be willing to be honest and discern this. Some common ones are, “I am too busy, I have other important commitments at this point in my life, it will take up my needed rest and exercise time”. Each of us will be always busy and have commitments at every stage of life, be it student life, working life, family life, and senior age. It is all about your priority and what you value. You will always make time for what you believe is important. If you say this, then you are simply saying that you are too busy serving self and the world, and prefer that to serving God. Then some of us may reply when approached, “let someone else have the privilege and opportunity to serve”. Even that can be an excuse too. We become tired of serving and want to get out of serving God. We want more time for ourselves to do what we like to do or what we see others do and want to follow them. For such ones, they are really saying “I don’t want to go through the effort and self-sacrifice to serve God. Since others are able to, let them do it instead of me.” If we succumb to the excuses, we will never serve God in any way or capacity all our lives. Some of us turn down opportunities to serve that could easily be taken up without major disruptions to duties of life. But we will readily sacrifice more sleep and energy to do that which our lusts desire. Never forget that as long as we love money and possessions, we will not want to serve Christ, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24) We may serve our own fleshly lusts too – always giving priority to our own rest and sleep, hobbies, or exercise routine – and forgo serving Christ for our flesh’s sake.

May the words of our Lord stir us to serve Him, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.(26) If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:25-26).

Yours in our Lord’s service,