Summary: What does it mean to have the "gift of serving?" How can I recognize if I have this gift and how can I use this kind of gift to glorify God?
I read about a woman who telephoned a friend and asked how she was feeling.
"Terrible," came the reply "my head's splitting and my back and legs are killing me. The house is a mess, and the kids are simply driving me crazy."
The caller said, "Listen, go and lie down, I'll come over right away and cook lunch for you, clean up the house, and take care of the children while you get some rest. And then I’ll fix dinner for Sam when he gets home from work."
"Sam?" the complaining housewife grasped. "My husband's not Sam."
"Oh dear me, I must have dialed the wrong number." exclaimed the first woman
There was a long pause. "Does that mean you're not coming over?"
This morning we’re going to be focusing on what Romans calls the “gift of serving.”
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is… SERVING, let him serve” Romans 12:6-7
Those with the gift of serving are the ones who would COME OVER. They are the ones who would be there for you in just about every situation.
Now the word for “serving here is “diakonia” and it’s closely related to the word “diakonos” which is the word for “Deacon.”
The purpose of Deacons was (and still is) to be the official SERVANTS for the church
In Acts 6, there were certain widows who were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. This was a day long before Social Security and Government safety nets, and the early church took their responsibility to these needy women very seriously. But apparently, the widows that weren’t from Judea were being left out of the distribution of food.
The Apostles realized if they focused on this need personally, it would take away from their main ministry which was to teach and preach about Jesus, so they asked the people to choose 7 men who would be Godly and filled with the Spirit that they could trust with this responsibility.
These 7 men became the first Deacons, and their job was to serve the needs of widows to make sure they were taken care of properly.
These deacons were the designated to SERVE the church.
But that doesn’t mean they necessarily have the gift of serving.
They were simply trustworthy and Godly men who SERVED people in church.
In this congregation here, we have several deacons as well. They do things like…
• Take care of the building and grounds for us.
• Take communion to the sick and shut-ins
• Oversee the Food Pantry ministry
• And so on…
In too many churches Deacons do little more than sit on church boards and vote on things.
Oh yes, and they pass out the communion and offering plates.
That's a fairly pathetic use of people who should be serving rather than just standing around.
I praise God that in this congregation, there is no board. Deacons Deac (they do works of service) and Elders Eld (they oversee the congregation). The Deacons don't just stand around and do busy work. They work for Christ and for this congregation. They take their responsibilities seriously.
Like I said, Deacons don’t have to have the “gift of serving” to do these tasks.
They’re just trustworthy and Godly men that we know we can count on.
In fact, you don’t have to have the gift of serving to SERVE others!
God is very clear on the fact that He expects ALL of us to SERVE all the others.
Ephesians 5:21 says we ALL should “…be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
Galatians 5:13 declares “…through love serve one another.”
1 Peter 4:10 tells us we should be “serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
ILLUS: There’s the cute story of a Sunday School class where the teacher was trying to teach her children the benefits of being unselfish.
She concluded by saying "The reason you are in this world, children, is to serve others."
After a moment's silence, a little girl piped up: "Well, then, what are the OTHERS here for?"
The point is: You and the others are ALL here to serve each another.
At one point in His ministry, Jesus called His disciples together and He said to them,
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:25-28
Jesus set us the example of what serving was all about.