Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How We Serve Means Everything

We have spoken much at our church about how important our motivation is when we do something if God is going to be pleased with our efforts.  In the everyday scheme of social interaction this isn’t particularly important at all.  If you have two farmers who both are able farmers, who plant at the right time and fertilize the same and have the same work ethic and same amount of rain, will they not both have successful farms?  Does is matter if one does his work joyfully while the other hates farming yet does is well?  It is the results that matter.  I don’t care if my surgeon is a happy man or not just as long as he is good at what he does.
But when it comes to how a Christian serves his Master it is a different story.  I do not mean that we are not to do our best in whatever we do, but we must also keep in mind that it is God who has given us our various abilities to start with.  But in Christian service the most important thing to consider is our motivation for our work.  It must be done joyfully as unto the Lord (which is a biblical way of saying that it must be done out of love for the Lord).  If we are merely doing our duty I don’t believe God has any use for whatever we are doing.  On the other hand, if this is our motivation then we will do our best in whatever our hand finds to do.
1 Peter 5:2-3 show how this works with Pastors.  “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”  It is no secret that it is possible to in many ways be an able pastor and preacher even if your heart isn’t always in it or if your motives are less than godly.  Even the best of us can lose some of the joy of our calling when we don’t feel appreciated or we grow cold in our relationship to Christ or we fall into routines, etc.  We can continue to go through the motions and many times still come up with profitable messages, counseling and leadership.  But I think what Peter is saying is that this isn’t the way God has called pastors or any Christian to serve.  Don’t do it under compulsion or don’t do it out of duty or just to get paid, but make sure you have the glory of God in front of you.  Make sure love for him and for your sheep are before you.  Do it joyfully because serving the Lord and his people is the greatest pursuit there is.  Do this because obeying the Lord for any other reason does not honor him. 
The same thing is seen in the second and third exhortations, “not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”  He follows this by saying that, “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  I think an underlying point here is that if you are to receive the crown of glory, the “well done” from the Lord, you are going to not just have to answer the call to preach or to serve but you are going to have to do it joyfully, as unto the Lord or there is no reward for it.  If a Christian’s heart isn’t in whatever he does, his actions are no different than those of the lost.

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