It looks like I’m going to stop wandering around so much to different churches and start attending Flint River regularly with Heather and the boys, so I’m discontinuing my regular “Another Sunday” series. If I end up visiting somewhere new, I may write another entry, but, right now, it just doesn’t work for where I am. Instead, I’m going to try starting a new series, “You Are Free,” focusing either on teaching about how Christians are free, or riffing off teachings that give false perceptions of that freedom. This is the first part of that series.
God wants you to serve.
Have you ever been told this in church? Hopefully so. Because it’s true.
Have you ever been told that you’re not serving right, or serving enough? That’s a common one to here, too.
But what does God want?
Maybe you’ve been told that people use “doing the family stuff” and “doing life” as excuses not to serve. They say they’re too busy because of the new baby or the kids’ ball games.
Or maybe that coming to the church service on Sunday doesn’t count either. That’s “worship,” not “service.”
Likewise Sunday School or other small groups. Those are “discipleship” or “Bible study,” not service.
Things like being a good parent, being a good spouse, honoring your parents as a child are “good qualities to have,” but aren’t service. They’re not what God expects from you.
But what does God expect? What does He want? What is service?
If you’re a slave, a servant, service is doing what you’re told. If that’s to work in a field, or clean a house, that’s service. If it’s being told to sing, or to play with a child, that’s service.
We serve God when we do what He tells us.
When Jesus on Earth, there were three things He said to do that were so important they were called “great.” Two great commandments. One great commission.
Love God. Love others. Make disciples and teach them to obey.
Worship. Relationships. Discipleship. Study. These are the things that God asks us to do. And if we do them because He asks us to, they’re service.
That doesn’t mean that those are the only things you should do. Maybe you’re called to teach Sunday School. Or to help the homeless. Or to be in the choir. Or to go on a mission trip. If you are, that’s what God’s asking you to do. And doing it because He asks is service.
But maybe the thing God most wants you to do right now is to be a better spouse. Or to be the best parent you can. All of these things are under that “Love others” commandment. Paul spends a good bit of time breaking down the details on these things in his letters. And if that’s the big thing God’s asking you to do right now, then that’s what you should be doing it. And if you do it the way He asks, that’s service.
There’s no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach for what serving God looks like. Nobody else can tell you. Nobody else should make you feel guilty; not if you’re asking Him and trying to do what He asks of you.
When He was on Earth, Jesus didn’t teach Sunday School, or join mission trip teams, or serve on committees, or sing in the choir. He went around talking to people about God, and helping people He met with problems. That, certainly, can be service. All we know about his mother Mary is that she did what God asked her to do and tried to be the best mom she could. That’s service, too, because that’s what God wanted.
This isn’t about liberty; it’s about freedom. It’s not about saying you don’t have to do anything; God does want you to serve.
It’s about being free to ask God what how He wants you to serve, and being free to do that out of love for the Father, regardless of anyone else’s expectations.