Summary: God has gifted you for the purpose of serving.

Impact Series #4

Commitment to Serve

Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches

November 10, 2002

Commitment to Serve

I Peter 4:10-12

Eccl. 9:10

INTRODUCTION: In our impact sermons we have been talking about Commitments that will change your life. First was the Commitment to Jesus Christ, next was the Commitment to the Church, and last week’s message was the Commitment to be an Example. Today is the Commitment to Serve. Many Christians only have a vague idea of what is involved in “Serving God.” Someone said that it is true that most people would like to “serve” God --but in an ADVISORY CAPACITY only!”

How many of you know people like that? Not YOU, but OTHER PEOPLE?

A Commitment to Serve. How is it for you? Is it in an Advisory Capacity only? Is it even a commitment?

STORY: Johnny had trouble pronouncing the letter “R” so his teacher gave him this sentence to practice at home.

“Robert gave Richard a rap in the rib for roasting the rabbit so rare.”

A few days later the teacher asked him how he was doing with his sentence and to say it for her.

He quickly rattled off the sentence. “Bob gave Dick a poke in the side for not cooking the bunny enough!”

Johnny did all he could to avoid using the letter “R”. Many of us at times do the same thing to avoid the Commitment to serve the Lord, especially if it is not easy for us to do--if we feel inadequate for the task or afraid.

At the beginning of Chapter 4, Peter talked to these Christians about living for God. He said, Jesus did not live his earthly life just for his human selfish desires but rather for the will of God (v. 2) and he says, “You have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry” (v. 3).

He is speaking to people who previously didn’t have even a VAGUE IDEA of what it meant to SERVE God. They had previously lived very self-centered, destructive lives. He is telling them the importance of living a different lifestyle--one that would count for something in the light of eternity. One that would be productive and point other people to Christ.

This scripture is just as applicable for us today. What can we get out of this scripture this morning? How can we apply it to our lives this week?

1. GIFTED--You have been given a gift by God to use in His service. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? A lot of people will say, “I don’t have any gifts or talents.” This is not scriptural. There are many references in scripture that show that we have each been given one or more gifts in order to serve God effectively. Sometimes we DON’T RECOGNIZE them because they have not been developed. Sometimes we DON’T COUNT THEM as a gift of God because we think “Oh, that’s not very “SPIRITUAL.”

(See: Ephesians 4:7,8

Romans 12:6-8

I Corinthians 12:4-11

I Corinthians 12:28-30)

I remember telling someone years and years ago “I do better in music but I don’t do very well in art.” She said to me, “well, you have developed your music ability but maybe you haven’t developed your artistic talent yet.”

Come to think of it, that was true. Then over the years I signed up for some art classes. In our Commitment to Serve, we’ve got to be on the LOOK OUT for ways that God has gifted us--Don’t discount any gift as unimportant or say, “Oh, that’s nothing.” You have been entrusted with one or more gifts and it is your responsibility to find out what it is, to polish it up, develop it and use it for His glory.

2. IDENTIFYING GIFTS--How can we know what abilities we have individually been given? First of all we need to pray about it, study the scriptures, think about what it is you can do or would like to do along with getting feedback from others. Sometimes people will say, “You’re really good at this...You ought to do this....

You might “try out” some ways of serving God by volunteering for some short term things.

Sometimes we let all of the “what ifs” stop us. What if I fail?

What if I don’t like it?

What if I...?

Concerning our gifts and abilities we can begin to identify them by asking ourselves these questions:

1. In what ways am I especially blessed by the Lord?

2. What advantages do I have which others may not enjoy?

3. What is there about my particular situation that can be turned to good advantage in the local congregation? In the community? In my family?

4. What do I possess that can be used in the work of the congregation--time, money, a phone, a car, an education?

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