Summary: God has given each of us gifts so that we might use them to bring Him glory and to bless the lives of those around us.
Are You Eager To Serve?
Tom Jackson and Chris Johnson were both members of the same church. Tom and his family had joined the church when they moved into the neighborhood and began searching for a new church home. Tom and Serena had three kids who were in school at the time. The kids were busy in extracurricular activities at school that kept the family going several nights a week. Their schedules were jammed packed with "things to do," but Tom and Serena had both been raised in Christian homes where going to church was never an option - it was as much a part of their lives as breathing and eating three meals a day. They remembered how important the church had been to both of them when they were young and they wanted their children to have the same memories.
Tom was a deacon at New Hope and Serena worked with the children's ministry, visited the sick and shut-in, and attended the Women's Bible study on Thursday nights. When they first got involved they found great joy in helping others. They were excited about being asked to serve and they were enthusiastic to volunteer even with their hectic schedules.
Along the way something changed for Tom. As time rocked along Tom began to be overburdened with the family's hectic schedule and his responsibilities as a deacon. Tom seemed to lose his joy and as a result what before were viewed as opportunities to serve now was now seen as the drudgery of having to be a deacon. Whenever the pastor would call and ask Tom if he could visit someone who was going through a rough time Tom would do as he was asked, but there was no longer any sense of being used for God's glory. He began to mumble under his breath about how some of the other men never did anything but show up for church. He would rush in to serve where he was asked and then rush out at the same pace.
Serena didn't understand what was going on in Tom's life, but she saw a definite change in his attitude. She would pray for Tom and try to talk with him about the change, but Tom was unresponsive. He just wanted to finish his term as a deacon so he could disappear into the background.
The change of heart that Tom experienced was noticeable to everyone at the church. It had been evident that Tom was gifted for ministry, but his gifts were nothing in comparison to his heart. Now that his heart wasn't in it, it was evident that Tom was preoccupied and uneasy with his responsibilities at the church. Tom's friendliness turned cold, his openness turned inward so that he was viewed as standoffish, and his passion for God turned passive. As a result many folks whom God led into Tom's life were seen as burdens.
Tom's trouble was the trouble with many of us today. Tom found himself in a new church. He got caught up in the excitement of new surroundings, new friends, and new ministries. In his excitement he dove in head first, never giving consideration to what God was leading him to do. Because Tom's commitment was based on emotion his enthusiasm turned sour, opportunities became burdens, and eventually he faded into non-existence.