Service: Beyond the call of duty

Posted: September 15, 2015 in TLCC
Tags: , , ,

What do these people have in common?

men

Answer? They were all beyond 50 before they were recognized for their efforts.

Christopher Columbus was well over 50 when he discovered America. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his CANTERBURY TALES between the age of 54 and 61. Leonardo da Vinci was drawing sketches in his sixties. Colonel Sanders started KFC at 65. Peter Roget invented the Thesaurus at age 73. Michelangelo was sculpting in his eighties. Winston Churchill, with his fondness for cigars and Scotch, was active and productive until his death at age ninety.

We all look forward to the day we are going to retire. We want to be comfortable at the end of our lives. Scriptures tell us of men and women who served beyond their years. Moses was 80 when God called him. Abraham was past the child bearing age when given a son. Even Zechariah and Elizabeth became parents to John the Baptist in their old age.

We should continually seek out ways to serve even if we are beyond retirement age. There is no such thing as retirement in the Kingdom of God, but we need to continually equip the next generation because our time is short.

Going through our passage in 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, we see two reasons why we should continue serving (or serve, for those who are reading this and are not involved in any ministry in church.)

service

#1 Ministry is given by the mercy of God (v1-4)

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

God is the one who entrusted us with the church. He gave us gifts so we can serve one another. Consider that ministry means “to serve”. Ministry is seen as service to God and to people in His name. God is the one who placed us where we are. He is the one who gave gifts for us (Ephesians 4:11-12). The pastor serves as a coach, or someone who could see the needs of the congregation, and then assigns the members where they could best serve in their gifting.

Ministry goes back to the issue of LORDSHIP. God didn’t give us gifts for us to enjoy but rather to serve one another. There is no other head in this church but Jesus Christ! We believe He is Lord of all (Romans 10:12) and that He is head over all things (Ephesians 1:22). When we say Jesus is LORD, it means MASTER. There is only one master. If you are still the boss, then Jesus is not your master.

If we claim to be Christians, then Jesus is our master. But if we let sin continue in our lives, then sin is our master and not Jesus.

Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (John 8:34)

We serve God or we serve sin. Whatever it is that holds us captive, that is our master. For some, it may be pornography. It could be unhealthy relationships. It could be our work, or money. What is it that drives us? That is our master.

It’s either we trust God, who is our master, or we trust ourselves. Charles Spurgeon said…

If you can’t trust God for the temporal, how can you trust Him for the eternal?

Now it makes more sense when Paul said…

But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

If Christ is our Master (Lord), then we don’t want to disgrace the name of our Master. We come to a point of being commendable to everyone’s conscience. We live our lives worthy of our calling as Christians.

We could ask the question…”Why are some Christians not serving or why are some Christians not living as they ought to be?” The apostle Paul said…

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Those who don’t have Christ will not understand what it means to give up our lives to the LORD. Because they are blinded (veiled/covered). In fact, they might not even be Christians at all! They are perishing! Some would pretend to know God, go to church, do the routine of serving but unless we come to the understanding of who the Lord is, what we are doing is in vain.

Also, the god of this world, Satan, is working to prevent people from seeing the truth. We are not to blame everything on Satan but check out that people reject God blatantly. We really do have a lot of work to do.

#2 Ministry is done because we are servants of God (v5-6)

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The second reason to serve is that we are SERVANTS. The Greek word is better, we are SLAVES. No rights. We were once slaves of sin now we are slaves of Christ. We are a slave to whatever has mastered us. We can’t have a sense of entitlement. We are not entitled. When God calls, we can’t say “I don’t want to” or “I’m not ready yet” because we don’t have rights. Bear in mind that in serving, we serve because that is what is expected of us. We go because that’s what we ought to do.

Sin is a cruel master. It pays death. God is more than that. He gives life.

At this stage, a lot of us should be teachers already (Hebrews 5:12). Evangelism, discipleship, and everything we do only makes sense if we understand the relationship of MASTER – SLAVE. We would get along with one another if we come to a point of understanding that we don’t have rights because we are all slaves. We would be mindful of what we say when we know we don’t own our lives because we’re serving our Master, Jesus Christ. There is no retirement in the Kingdom of God, but we need to continually equip the next generation.

We ought to teach others by now. There’s no benchwarmers in the Kingdom of God. Only Slaves willing to do whatever it takes to please the Master, Jesus Christ.

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