“We would love for you to get plugged into this ministry.” “Could you start serving in this area once a week?” “Is the Lord leading you to get involved with what He’s doing here?”
Let’s face it. We’ve all heard these (well-meaning) pitches for serving in church and ministry. There are many incredible opportunities to reach the lost and make disciples, but jobs, studies, and other ministry roles can prevent us from adding another service project to our weekly schedules. However, if you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to say no to so many great opportunities.
How do we serve the Lord with our whole heart while not feeling obligated to add another event to our calendars?
1. Realize that “service” is not limited to the structure that churches and ministries create.
When I think of service, my mind naturally gravitates toward going on mission trips, working in the soup kitchen, and participating in other “church” events. These are all great acts that benefit the kingdom, but I often think that these projects and activities exempt me from serving people in everyday life. Galatians 6:9 encourages us to “not grow weary of doing good.” Serving through the local church is a great way to be the hands and feet of Christ, but we cannot clock out of service when we leave the church campus.
2. Commit to areas you are passionate and gifted in, but don’t limit yourself to those areas.
When we commit to serve, sometimes we can end up committing simply to fill a spot or a need. Of course, there are definitely times that we have to do things we don’t necessarily want to do. However, the Lord has given us gifts and passions for a reason, so we should strive to serve in ways that stewards what He has given us. Paul says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6). If you can teach, then teach! If you can lead, then lead! The goal is not quantity but quality. We should be open and willing to serve in whatever capacity necessary, but we should look to serve in the ways God has designed us to benefit His Kingdom.
3. Remember that the goal is daily sacrifice, not weekly service.
Ultimately, service is not something that we do; it’s a lifestyle we live. Look no further than Jesus, the ultimate servant. Christ gave up His own interests for the interests of others. He didn’t just give up a weekly time slot, He gave up Himself. Even though we didn’t deserve it, He became a servant for us and became obedient to death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8). In the same way, we are commanded to take up our crosses (Mark 8:34) and present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
Let’s take on the attitude of Christ and become servants in all areas of life!