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SERVANTHOOD AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH


I surveyed my church to see if people saw a relationship between ministering to others and spiritual growth. When asked, "To what extent has your ministry or service to others affected your spiritual growth?," 92 percent answered positively. None responded that ministry had a negative effect on their spiritual growth. Sixty-three percent indicated that service was equally significant in their spiritual growth compared to other spiritual disciplines, such as Bible study and prayer. Twenty-four percent responded that ministry or service to others had been "a more significant factor" to their spiritual growth than Bible study or prayer. Over half (58 percent) of those who were not actively ministering to others felt either "not satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with their level of spiritual growth. [Eric Swanson What You Get from Giving (Leadership Journal, Spring 2003), p. 37]


The survey shows what the Bible has said for centuries: "Serving is good for you because it will make you happy and it will have eternal value." The problem comes into serving when the person who serves comes with the wrong attitude.


Listen to what Bill Hybels has to say about this: "The right motivation for Christian service is love. When we discover God loves us with an everlasting love and that we matter deeply to him, we want to serve. He has given us salvation as a free gift. He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. He has shed the blood of His most precious Son as a sin sacrifice for undeserving souls like ourselves. When all of that comes together and clicks, an unquenchable, divine energy is infused into the spirit of the believer. There is an insatiable desire to return love to God. That love is returned to God through worship and service. It is so natural that anything short of passionate service seems unnatural. One major cause of servant drop-out is faulty motivation. Some people are motivated to serve because of guilt. They feel bad if they don’t do something, so they say yes to soothe their own guilty conscience. Others are motivated by the belief that they must earn their way into God’s favor and pave the way to heaven with their good works. There are also those who serve for the applause of people. They want others to notice their service and give them affirmation and praise. With the wrong kind of motivation, you won’t be able to keep a servant serving. With the right kind of motivation, you won’t be able to stop a servant serving. It is just about that simple (37)."


(From a sermon by Michael McCartney, Experience the Spirit in Service, 4/14/2011)

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