A study of the New Testament reveals several spiritual disciplines that help maintain the both the health and vitality of the individual Christian as well as the health and vitality in the Body of Christ. Chief among the disciplines are the study of God’s Word, prayer, fellowship, and service. I fear that all too often service is the ugly step-child of the four, and yet, it is one of the most rewarding.
We live in a world that lives by the mantra of, “What’s in it for me?” Sadly, that attitude is not only found in the culture it has also wormed its way into the church. Today, many shop for churches like they shop for clothes or a car, looking for the biggest bang for their buck.
When I interview potential new members atSierraBibleChurch, I make it clear to them that being part of this local fellowship is a great privilege that comes with great responsibility. Yes, this fellowship is a place where one can come and worship with their brothers and sisters in Christ and be taught from God’s Word. But it is not a place to just slide up to the trough and consume. It is also a place where we must be willing to bring our gifts into the mix so that others might be blessed by the many and varied giftings that God places within the local church.
One of the problems with discipline of service is that from the outside it looks an awful lot like work. In the early 60’s sit com Dobie Gillis, there was a character named Maynard G. Krebs, a beatnik with a great aversion to work. For For example, whenever the word “work” was mentioned, even in passing, he would yelp “WORK?!” and jump with fear or even faint.
Once again the genius of God’s design for the body is seen when each and every believer in the fellowship brings their gift of service to the table, the load of ministry is light because many bear it instead of a few.
In his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I like to apply this when speaking of the privilege of membership in the local church, “Ask not what the church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church.”
When one rolls up their sleeves and offers up their gifts service to Christ and His Church an interesting phenomenon takes place. They find that God gives a spiritually generated vitality that in fact refreshes one instead of wearing one out. This is clearly noted in the life of a very tired and hungry Jesus in John 4:7-34.
Fortunately, Sierra Bible Church offers many ministries to the families of Truckee/Tahoe, ministries that start in the nursery and go on to include every member of the family at every age. But you know what? It takes people to keep those ministries functioning, people like you. What gifts of service has God given to you? Is that gift growing and gaining strength and power from its being exercised or is it suffering from atrophy?
Our church is growing! Praise God! But as it grows so does the need for men and women, boys and girls to boldly step up to the plate and say, “Here am I Lord, use me.”