Later this week, we are gathering together to celebrate the people who volunteer in our church. I’m grateful for the many individuals and families who prioritize serving in various ministries. I think it is right to not only say ‘thank you’, but to also celebrate the diversity of gifts found in our congregation.
I believe that all Christians are called to regularly serve the Lord in his church and Kingdom. Here’s why:
Firstly, we have all been given a gift and are expected to use it.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:4-8)
This passage makes it clear that every believer has a gift and is expected to use it accordingly. No one is exempt. It doesn’t always mean we have to serve in the local church; there are many ministries where people can serve and help the cause of the Kingdom. We all need to serve somewhere with the gift God has given us.
Secondly, serving reminds us that our time comes from God. It’s a way of acknowledging him as Lord of everything. I remember one man saying to me, “I don’t have time to volunteer, but I have a lot of money to give, so I’ll do that instead.” It’s not a matter of one or the other: we must give both. Many committed Christians donate a tenth of their income to the church as a way of acknowledging that God provides for their needs. We give to him first and trust that he will supply what is needed. Yet many people are reluctant to give of their time in the same way. God has given each of us 24 hours in a day. When we take time to serve him on a weekly basis, we are saying that we believe he can help us complete all of our other tasks with the time we have left. Giving time to God is an act of faith and trust.
Thirdly, our commitments should match our convictions. If we believe that God and his kingdom have priority in our lives, then that should be reflected in how we spend our time. A man who says he loves his family but never spends time with them will rightly be questioned about his convictions. The majority of people who serve faithfully do so because they live as if God has priority in their lives. Quite frankly, if we are too busy to serve the Kingdom in some way, we need to stop and re-evaluate what we are doing with our life. We believe that if we ‘seek first the Kingdom of God’, all these other things will be added.
Serving the Lord with our time is a key element of Christian discipleship. Our community is richer and deeper because so many have accepted the call. I’m looking forward to celebrating what God is doing through our congregation.