Written by Stephen Cox
At WWEC we desire to see more and more people passionately love, praise and thank God in all of life. It is clear in the scriptures that God’s glory is of first importance in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31). And that, of course, is going to include the ways in which we serve one another in our church family and in our community.
1 Peter 4:10-11 says:
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Everything is done for God’s glory. At WWEC we want to see all of Christ’s people willingly and graciously give themselves in effective service for Christ’s cause and glory.
As a staff team, Pete and I are always encouraged to see so many of our church family members serving one another with genuine love. God has truly blessed our church family with gifted people. We thank God for what you have done and keep doing. We are grateful to God for how he keeps using you to make an impact for his kingdom here in Wagga and further afield.
All this reflecting on serving has led me to an issue that many committed Christians face – we are called to serve, we want to serve, we should serve and yet sometimes it is very hard work: be it through tiredness, busyness, or a feeling of being unappreciated or unacknowledged. Over the summer I was able to read a great little book to help with such an issue – “Serving Without Sinking” by John Hindley.
“When it comes to Christian service, the first place to look is at what is going on in our hearts, not what we are doing with our hands.”
John Hindley challenges us to see that often many of the reasons we serve as Christians are actually flawed. They can come from a wrong view of God and Jesus: I serve to be good enough, I serve to get something, or I serve to pay him back. We can also have a wrong view of people, so we serve to impress or belong. Or we can have a wrong view of ourselves, perhaps we serve because we think Jesus needs us, or in fact we think we don’t really need Jesus.
All of these possibilities are fleshed out well with good examples and explanation, and I could honestly see myself in all of them at times. But there is hope!
Serving Without Sinking is a call away from weariness, discouragement, bitterness and joylessness as we serve. It achieves this by pointing us to the greatest Servant of all. Instead of beginning with our service of Christ, it reminds us of these important words in Mark 10:45 that Jesus came first to serve us:
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.
This one truth is remarkably freeing. It frees us from service done to earn or impress or compare and instead allows us to enjoy the ways in which Christ serves us.
The truth that Jesus came to serve us, to give His life to ransom us for God, means we’ve been given free access to God. It doesn’t depend on our performance and because of this we are liberated to serve in joyful response.
The truth that we have been reconciled to Jesus leads us to serve him, not because we have to or need to, but because we are his friends. This is not about duty, or obligation, or simply obedience—it’s about relationship.
The truth that we have been united with Christ as his bride, draws us into the intimacy of relationship with him. He has sacrificed everything for us and is preparing us for eternity. Jesus is working through our service of him to get us ready for that great day when we will be fully joined with him.
The truth that we’ve been adopted into God’s family as sons, with full inheritance rights, to join in the family business, means we have the privilege of working with God. He doesn’t need us to help him, but he loves us doing so.
Grasping these truths refocuses our Christian service. It opens the door to rediscovering the joy and freedom that come through the gospel. It takes the heat off us. If the Christian life is reduced to our service of God then we will fail miserably. But if we take hold of God’s promises then we cannot fail. Jesus has done it all.
This book was an enjoyable read and I recommend it to you.
Serving is not jobs that have to be done, but gifts to be unwrapped. These gifts are not for our sake, but gifts to be enjoyed by the church body. God has given to each of us different gifts, different parts to play in his family. In Ephesians 4:16, Paul says, “From him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.”
One body. With many parts. One Lord. But he’s handed out many gifts. All of us, in one way or another, can be involved in serving. It all depends on your gifts and on the needs that surround us, in response to the free gift of relationship with Christ. At WWEC we continue to seek to do all we can to ensure that believers have the encouragement and opportunity to be involved in serving God and his purposes in our church, all for the glory of God.