The service God accepts

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Every Christian should serve God. Some may be stunned into an awkward silence if we are asked by a visitor or a friend “what do you serve in the church?”. But as we sing the hymn with the refrain “What hast thou done for Me?”, one day must answer such a question before our Saviour. Yet, we must also keep in mind that this is spiritual service, though it may be physical work. Everyone serving in the church must do it as a spiritual service and not just something to soothe our conscience. What is the spiritual mindset that we must adopt regarding serving in the church? We must view service in the church:

As holy service. The world hires people based on their qualifications and ability to do the job. However, because the labour is a spiritual service, the church must use people not just based on their ability to do the job, but also consider their spiritual walk with God. All who serve must approach God with this reminder in Psalm 24, “3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” The church should not just let everyone serve regardless of their beliefs or their spiritual condition. Some churches can have the idea to just let everyone serve so that they feel “engaged” and hence will continue to stay with the church. Some even have the business world’s idea of “use them or lose them”. Service is more than just “warm bodies that will get the job done”. God rejected Eli’s family’s service though sacrifices continued during the period that they were serving. God doesn’t “close one eye”, not even when it comes to the priesthood. No one must think that they’re exempt from serving God with holiness. The omnipotent and Thrice Holy God looks at how we do it and examines the life and theheart as we do it. When God commands us to be holy as He is holy, it is to remind us of how to serve Him. It is also to remind us that we must set ourselves apart for His service. Before the Aaronic priesthood was instituted, they were told to prepare for it. Before the children of Israel were to meet with God to receive the 10 commandments, they were also told to prepare for it. The ceremonial preparation was to teach them of the Holy God whom they were approaching. This means that all who serve must ensure that we prepare ourselves each time before approaching God to serve Him. We must examine our hearts’ motives and also if there are unrepented sins. We must deal with these consciously and not do any service – big or small, foreground or background – with unclean hands.

As unto God. As I write this, I wonder if any reader will be thinking in his mind “here goes Pastor again nagging at me to serve in this or that for the church. Doesn’t he know that I have a very busy life and schedule?”. Sadly, I have heard of such a complaint from an ex-worshipper when asked about the person’s schedule so that the lead could do his monthly rostering. While we need many people to serve, I fear that some may think that the church is demanding free service for the church. This is never my intent. Difficult as serving may be, we must always have a very clear view that service in the church must always and only be for God and God alone. We say we’re called to serve in this or that job in our vocations. But God’s privileged invitation to serve Him comes through the church. We cannot serve God in this world without serving God in His church.  I am called to my area of service as Pastor of BPCWA, but much as I love BPCWA and much as I love God’s people here, I am serving all of you here in this church because I am serving my Lord and Master Jesus Christ. I hope that each of you will have the same view and understanding in your heart as you serve too. 

As a hearty commitment. Not only must we view service as unto the Lord but we must also serve from our hearts with devotion unto Him, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” (Col 3:23). Given that we are all busy in this world, we must realise then that every service involves commitment. And commitment often involves some degree of “inconvenience” and “difficulty”. Taking time even for an hour’s service requires you to set aside doing things for yourself or your family for one hour.  This means setting aside something which your flesh prefers, which is probably easier and more convenient for you, which requires less sacrifice. But following Christ is not just wanting Him to be your Saviour, but also as your Lord and Master. We must not forget that Jesus said “unto his disciples” (not just to the Apostles as leaders) that “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24). If you do put up your hands to serve in any area in the church, let us do it with love and passion for our Saviour – just as you would do something for your spouse, child, or parent out of love. This is service to God and not to the church or man. Just as when it comes to giving our substance in support of God’s work where “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2Cor 9:7). Let us give of our service from our heart as cheerful givers of ourselves. It also shouldn’t be “I don’t want to do this but I know I should and so I do”. If any of us are having such an attitude, then pray “Lord, forgive me for my unwilling spirit, help me to serve You with willingness and joy to do it unto you”. We would serve very differently if we truly loved our Lord for what He has done for us and hence are serving for His glory. Aim for that. The thinking we must have in this respect is “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Rom 12:11).

As we wrap up this pastoral, I hope that you have had a better understanding of what service means to you. Whether you are an elderly, a family person, a single, or a young person, you must remember that service is not an option. Service is an essential part of Christian living and it is something that we must give an account to God for one day. Perhaps in the near future, we will start with the church extension. Activities will ramp up and a lot of help will be needed. Will you all rise up to the challenge to serve God when it is needed?

Mt 20:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,

and to give his life a ransom for many.

Yours in our Lord’s service,