Notes on Christian Service

Notes on Christian Service

An All Inclusive Service
Once we receive Christ our daily activities are to take on a different character. We may be doing the same things as before but our motive is to be different. The word for us now is, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17). That is a charge to all who believe and it embraces all things. We have to realize that we have not only been pardoned but purchased; bought with a price beyond measure, the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18,19). We are under new ownership from the moment we are saved. A false idea, one no doubt sponsored by the deceiver, is that we may take Jesus as our Saviour today and consider inviting Him to be our Lord tomorrow. But we forget who we have welcomed into our hearts; a Lord who saves and a Savior who lords. His person is not divisible. Christian development is only possible as we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour” (2 Pet. 3:18). And Christian service is not something to be separated from the secular; it embraces and transforms all that we might once have considered commonplace, even our eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31).

By Love Constrained
I have met Christians whose own words revealed that they conceived of the “ministry” or becoming a “full time worker” in the same way that most people choose to pursue medicine or take up carpentry; it was one of the alternatives that faced them when they thought of earning a living. Happily, I also know of at least one such person who judged their initial motive and later was constrained to devote most of his energies to teaching God’s word for a higher reason. All who trust Christ are called to serve Him, but the way their needs are supplied while they do so is a separate issue and may vary from time to time.*

Divinely Appraised
The yardstick to measure the worth of any service is not in our hands. We are to “judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” (1 Cor. 4:5). Yet while while Paul thus discounts our ability to arrive at a final analysis of the worth of our service, or that of others, he does say in the previous verse that he “knows nothing against himself”. He lived and served with a good conscience; so should we.

True service will not always be recognized and understood by others. The more spiritual it is, the less it may be appreciated. The good work that Mary performed did not meet with the approval her contemporaries, they judged it unnecessary waste; Moses took too much upon himself; Jeremiah and Paul were supposedly unconcerned for the welfare of their fellow citizens and so on. Those criticized will be tempted to forsake a work which makes them like the Master who is our model as a Servant, and adopt roles that will find more general acceptance. That would be a great mistake; we are to serve “…as to the Lord and not to men” (Col. 3:23) and to always abound in the work of the Lord, knowing that “your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor.15:58).

*In Acts 13:1-3 we are given the example of two men who were separated for a special type of work to which God had called them and commended to the grace of God by a local church. One was an apostle but that did not mean he thought it was unfitting to work with his own hands if circumstances required it (20:34). Supporting himself and his colleagues in this way he set a good example for all to follow.

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