Moving from Spectator to Engaged Service

For a while my biggest thrill as a new Christian was to meet up with other Adventists after church. Worship, fellowship and Special K loaf made Sabbaths the very best day! But after a while my faith and prayers didn’t seem so relevant. But then I began making visits with an associate pastor whose wife had left him. I accompanied him mostly because I felt he could use a friend. But in the midst of visiting members, I found myself uplifting Jesus; encouraging and praying with the sick and challenged. God’s presence and the Gospel became much more relevant because my prayers had an object beyond myself and family. Building up God’s kingdom became the most joyful pursuit of my life! Moving from spectator to engaged service elevated my purpose as a believer to a whole new level!

Psalm 92:13 says that those who are planted in the house of the LORD…will flourish in the courts of our God.”

I once read that we need to “start sowing back into the soil where we are planted.” That makes sense when you learn that plants not only take nutrients from the soil, they actually give back different nutrients to that soil! One plant will leave behind an excess of a nutrient that causes the next to flourish!

Serving in the local church is vital to our Christian experience!

1. Serving is part of our identity as Christ followers

Jesus didn’t just serve the strangers and masses—He served those closest to Him—His own community. We have been given a gift for the purpose of building God’s house and our church community. “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love,” —Eph. 4:16. Not one of us—including the pastor—is supposed to do everything. We’re far more effective as a church community when we each use our gifts to serve faithfully. Those things we are good at our not just for our own benefit: God gave us those gifts so we can bless others too!

2. A good measure of our spiritual health is our depth of concern for other people.

As we allow the Gospel to change our hearts, we will develop a deep care for other people. Our focus begins to turn away from ourselves and to the needs of others (Gal. 5:13). A good measure of our spiritual health is our depth of concern for other people. The church is us: people who love Jesus serving others by greeting in the foyer, assisting in Sabbath schools, praying with others, or preparing for special church gathering meals. Christianity is easy when we stay at a distance, but transformation really happens when we rub elbows with people and serve each other as Christ as served us!

3. Serving teaches us to grow in faith

Ministry stretches us beyond our comfort zone where true growth can take place! Sometimes we’re challenged to dig deeper into the word to answer a difficult question. We lean harder on God’s Spirit for guidance and wisdom while exercising our talents or when mentoring others. “…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ,” —Eph. 4:15.

4. You have a gift worth offering!

Jesus gives believers at least one spiritual gift! These gifts lead us to where we can minister most effectively and passionately to build up God’s church! Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God s grace in its various forms,” —1 Pet. 4:10. This statement helped early church Christians know how to live so that their lives (both individually and collectively) would glorify God. The quiet person who serves faithfully behind the scenes is using his gifts as much as the extroverted person serving in some leadership capacity.

5. We Are Parts of the Whole

Christianity is not a solo sport. We are each a part of the whole. Without each one’s participation we are incomplete.To reach the lost, we must use our gifts together. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others,” — Rom. 12:4-5.

6. We Serve Because He Served

Jesus modeled life as service to others: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” —Mk. 10:45. While no amount of service will lead to our salvation, Christians recognize the reason we serve others is because of all He did to forgive us. It is because of our belief in His love and His great salvation that we love others. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” —Jn. 13:35.

7. We Serve to Bring Glory to God

God isn’t looking for the most successful or popular person to serve. We all have gifts we can use to serve Him and others. We just need to be willing.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God s grace in its various forms,” —1 Pet. 4:10.

In His Joys,

Pastor John :)