Charles Spurgeon once said:
“I believe that many professing Christians are cold and uncomfortable because they are doing nothing for their Lord; but if they actively served him, their blood would begin to circulate spiritually, and it would be well with them.“
Our lives are so busy today! We run all over creation and it seems like there are never enough hours in the day. I don’t know if others feel like I do – but it is so easy to become overwhelmed. I often battle against feelings of numbness and I can relate to this quote – sometimes my spiritual blood stagnates. However, when I am actively doing what God has called me to do and I can see Him at work in my life, it is energizing spiritually. When I get my eyes off of myself and onto the work God has for me, it pulls me out of life’s monotony and gives me a glimpse of the big picture – of what God is accomplishing in the world through the lives of his people.
We all go through seasons in our lives. When we have babies and toddlers in the home, it can be hard to get out the door with everyone dressed! (I’m reliving this stage right now with an almost-2 year old in the house!) When we have school aged kids, we are running them to school and to extra-curricular activities and being the “mom-taxi”. It gets even worse in high school when our teens have to make serious commitments to activities and have all day band camps, out of town recitals and football games. Then our kids hit college and we only see them if they need to do laundry or raid the pantry! Even for those who aren’t parents, it is very easy to become overwhelmed by life’s “to-do list”.
Regardless of what season we are in, we need to periodically pull back and focus on what our priorities are. One thing I’ve noticed is that unless I set out to intentionally accomplish something, it just doesn’t get done. We’ve all heard the saying “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” But before we make a plan, we need to ask a few questions.
What ISN’T a priority at this time of my life?
You don’t have to do something just because every other family is doing it! Your child isn’t going to be scarred because you didn’t provide them will every single opportunity available. The things you choose to involve yourself and your family in communicate what your priorities are. Let me say that again – the things you choose to involve your family in communicate what your priorities are. Make sure that you are sending a consistent message to your kids about what things are really important – and I hope you agree, things that matter for eternity are the most important! For those who are past this stage – you don’t have to say “yes” to everything that is asked of you! Ask the Lord what He would have you to be involved with and allow Him to work through you in those activities.
What am I trying to instill in my children or accomplish personally?
Have you given any thought to this? Are you muddling through each day, so busy driving to this activity and the next that you really have no idea what you’re trying to accomplish? Do you have time left to instill ANYTHING?
What is the end goal/big picture?
You are raising an adult. What do you want for their life? Where do you want their priorities to lie? How do you want them to invest their lives? And what do you want them to be modeling for your grandchildren?
Is life all about obtaining material wealth and a constant flurry of activity that really serves no purpose other than entertainment and trying to find a sense of self-fulfillment or pride in self? Or do you want to leave behind a heritage of serving Jesus, serving others, and loving family?
I want to be clear – I am NOT saying that your family shouldn’t be involved in any extra-curricular activities. I’m saying there needs to be balance. And if you’re so busy doing “activities” that you don’t have time or resources left for the Lord or for discipling the children in your life – your balance is skewed. If your activities are consistently keeping you out of church, your focus is not where it should be as a follower of Christ. How we spend our time shows where our hearts lie and the next generation is watching.
How is God calling me to serve?
I’m not just talking to moms of young children here. I do believe that we should look for opportunities to serve as families. An attitude of service needs to be modeled for our kids and we need to include our children in the service that we do. But I also know that God has work for all of us – regardless of our age! Has God gifted you with a particular talent? Has He given you a heart for a particular group of people? Has He opened a door to an opportunity where you can make an impact? Has He given you time to fill a need that you know exists?
Lastly – Are you open to hearing His voice -and obeying?
I want to remind us all that Jesus came to serve… not to be served. Jesus was the one washing the disciples feet. GOD came to seek and to save, He doesn’t sit passively by – He is actively involved in His creation. In our society today, we tend to have an attitude of entitlement that makes us feel like others should be serving us – when we are the ones called to do the serving. When we serve others and get our focus off of ourselves, it causes us to live with an attitude of thankfulness. It invigorates and revives us and helps us to keep pressing toward the goal.
Let’s look at a few scriptures together…
WHY DO WE SERVE?
- It brings glory to God and is a testimony to the lost world that we belong to Christ.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Do you realize that the primary way the world sees Jesus in us is through our service in love to others?
- Serving others pleases God.
Hebrews 13:16 says “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
Do good! Share what you have with others. Sacrifice! Remember – it is NOT all about us!
- Because we were created for it!
In Ephesians chapter 2, we read “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
How awesome is it to think that God prepared the work that he has for us BEFOREHAND? He has already equipped us with everything we need to do the work he has called us to!
- We serve because it is an act of worship.
Paul says in the book of Romans “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. “
Now let’s look at how we should serve…
HOW DO WE SERVE?
- We should serve faithfully. We should serve willingly, with all of our heart, and “as until the Lord”
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23
Here’s our focus – we are serving others, but we are really serving the Lord. We aren’t doing this to gain the approval of people, but we are doing it for God.
Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24
When we reflect on all that God has done for us, it really should motive us to want to serve others in the same way!
Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Ephesians 6:7-8
Notice that this verse says we will receive back from the Lord any good that we do for Him!
- We should serve courageously.
But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7
(I think I need to hang this verse in my kitchen!)
- We are to serve selflessly.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Romans 15:1
Once again, we see that the focus is on others, not pleasing ourselves. The exact opposite of the entitlement attitude that our society promotes today!
- We are to serve diligently.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galations 6:9
We’re supposed to keep on keeping on – keeping the end goal in focus.
And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. Titus 3:14
When we see a need and we have the means to meet it, we need to help!
I love this quote by John Macarthur because it kind of sums things up… “Real love is costly, and the one who truly loves will have to sacrifice, but while you sacrifice in this world you’re gaining immeasurably in the spiritual realm. And you are displaying the most visible, practical, obvious mark of a true disciple”.
God calls us to do the risky and scary things. He doesn’t call us to sit in our pews and be comfortable, being fed like baby birds and never leaving the nest. “Loving the least of these” requires getting our hands dirty and laying our hearts on the line. One day, we are going to be rewarded for the work we’ve done. I want to have lots of jewels in the crown I get to lay at Jesus’ feet! All I have to give Him is my life. We need to remember, we are bought with a price! Once we surrender to Jesus, our lives are no longer our own. We are called to be doing the Lord’s work!
Francis Chan hit the nail on the head when he said –
“What the world doesn’t need is Christians
who tolerate the complacency
of their own lives.”
How’s your manicure? Is there dirt under your nails? If not, I challenge you to get out of the church building and into the community and SERVE! Be God’s Hands to a lost and dying world! Our time is short!
Opportunities are all around us. I encourage you to ask the Lord to open your eyes to where He would have you to be serving. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and obey those little promptings that He puts on your heart. We have to be His hands and feet in our community and world, so that we can reach our neighbors with the saving Gospel of our Savior.
(excerpt from speech I gave to my church’s ladies group in August)