The Puzzle of Christian Partnership, Your Service

by Marlin Hoover

Your Service - The fourth piece of the puzzle

This piece of the partnership puzzle is the one people consider to be the most difficult piece to get to fit in. It takes work, effort and time. To properly put this piece of the puzzle in requires the dreaded word, volunteer.

Why volunteer?

Most of us here in Tennessee only like to hear the word volunteer on Saturday afternoon during football season. Neyland stadium is full of Tennessee Volunteers fans on game day. They sing “Rocky Top”, hoot and holler and have a BIG time as long as the Volunteers are doing their job, winning the game. On Sunday morning it’s kinda the same, the church (kneel and pray stadium) isn’t full but has fans in it, we sing “Rock of ages”, occasionally clap and when the preacher scores somebody might say “Amen” and when the volunteers in the church do their job everybody has a BIG time.

Serving God means more than just going to church on Sundays, it means service! When we see a need in the church or an opportunity to serve others we need to be volunteers, not just fans. We need to get out of our pews and into the game, actually participate, be a real volunteer! No matter what we do in life we should always make God a part of it. In everything we do, we should be serving Him.

Service is giving of yourself

Service to others in Jesus’ name doesn’t have to mean going away to a third world country. We can all do something that makes a difference in the lives of others right here, everyday. It just takes making that personal decision, that may mean a little sacrifice on our part, to get our life of service started. Service means more than giving Him all that we have; it means yielding to Him all that we are.

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

Service is a form of re-gifting

In our previous lesson, we talked about gifts. This week we’re going to start out with gifts again but a different kind of gift. These gifts are talents that have been given to each of us. We have all received gifts/talents from God. We are to use these gifts for two purposes— to serve others and to bring praise to God. The purpose of our talents isn’t self-service, it’s full service to God. We aren’t given these talents so that we can get our names put in lights but so that we can put God’s light into the lives of others. It’s our commitment of service that makes a huge difference in this world.

But I don’t know what my gift is

Sometimes we can’t see the gift/talent that we’ve been given, it’s hidden in plain sight. Most of the time it’s easier to see other peoples talents and gifts than it is to see your own. We all like being in just an advisory position, telling others what to do. You can do this by pointing out the gifts we see in others and encourage them to use their gifts for God’s purpose. At the same time we need to listen to others’ advice and use their vision to see the gifts we have and use them to serve God.

Be committed to serve

We sometimes think that we’re just ordinary people with no real abilities or talents, we’ll let somebody else do the job. If we look at the people that God has used in the past or around us in the present, they’re just ordinary people like us, difference is they have a genuine commitment to an extraordinary Master that has inspired them to serve. God hasn’t added another day in our lives because we needed it but because somebody out there needs us. It’s our job to find and serve our purpose. Is our lack of service a lack of inspiration, a lack of commitment? It’s important to serve God through the church, through our partnership with our brothers and sisters in Christ, because most jobs require a team effort, a plan and encouragement. If you’re committed, God will inspire you. He’s got a position for you to fill, He’ll get you in the game.

Galatians 1:10 says: “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

Serve with love

The world sees what we do, God sees why we do it. To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincere love. God didn’t put us here on earth to acquire possessions, attain status, achieve success or even experience happiness, these are all secondary issues. Life is about love--loving God and other people. If we fail to serve God through our service to others, in love, we have missed the reason God has created us. If we look within and find God’s love, we need to look around and serve God with our love.

Get in the game, volunteer

Don’t be just a fan, get in the game, volunteer. Work hard to get your service piece of the puzzle in its proper place. We should never take God’s gifts for granted, we are not to use them to our advantage but for God’s purpose. The purpose of our work is so that others can see that Christ is at work in us. We should never have a preconceived idea as to what serving God is. No matter what we do in life we should always make God a part of it. In everything we do, we should be serving Him. If we are truly serving God we’ll never know from one minute to the next what will be asked of us. God puts hundreds of ways to serve Him in front of us every day. Do we take advantage of them? There’s a difference between knowing about God and truly knowing God. If you truly know God you’ll have no problem serving Him in any way you can.

Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

God has a position for you to fill, an opportunity for you to serve

If we’re truly committed to serving God He’ll put us in a position to see opportunities to serve. When we see opportunities we’re given to serve God, we need to realize these opportunities are gifts not burdens. What greater gift could we be given here on earth than the opportunity to serve God? When we’re given these gifts do we serve Him, or do we just sit in our pews cheering on the volunteers? Look around, if you’re a Christian you’re on the team. Like it or not you’ve volunteered. The Bible’s your game plan, God’s put you in the game, find your position, Serve!

Discussion Questions:

  1. How have others encouraged you to serve God?
  2. How have you encouraged others to serve God?
  3. What unconventional opportunities has God given you to serve Him? Did you?
  4. How are you served by the church?
  5. How do you serve God in the church?
  6. Why should you serve God?
  7. Which do you feel is more important, the act or the attitude?
  8. What gifts has God given us that we need to use to serve others, to serve God?
  9. How do you serve God?