Summary: Nine ways we can distinguish between Dead Works and Godly Service.
During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal if it was going to have any hope of winning the war.
Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. And at the end of his presentation he asked them to stand with him and picture in their minds a grand parade, which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war.
First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea-lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa.
Then would come the pilots, those brave men who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky.
Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps.
Someone would cry from the crowd, ’And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?’
And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, ’We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.”
When I read this story it really touched my heart. It stirred in me a desire to be one of those coal workers. It inspired me to believe that I could be a part of something bigger than myself. That I was relative that I was needed that no matter what my position I was an important part of the great scheme of things.
It is the same way I feel when I read Mathew 25:31:
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
"All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
It gives me that feeling that everything I do counts. Everything matters to God. That no matter how small or insignificant a task is - it matters to Him.
The Bile uses a word to describe someone who God is pleased with in this way. Repeatedly, when Jesus was asked what pleased God or how to please God, His reply was the same:
If you want to be great in the kingdom, you must become the servant of all.
So what does it mean to be a servant?
The word servant, as it is used here, comes from the word diakonos or deacon.
It denotes work that is done in freedom and dignity.
It is not to be mistaken for the word doulos, which means “a bond servant or slave”
The main difference being that you have chosen to do the work presented before you not because you are obligated to or fear punishment.
In fact it is quit possible for you to be a slave to God, being that the blood of Jesus purchased you, but never actually become a servant.
We have a word today for someone who chooses to work for free and that is a masochist - I mean a volunteer.
True servanthood, as is depicted in the Bible is more then just a desire to do what is right. It is dying to ones own desires and attending to the needs of our God and others.
It is born not out of our desire to appease God, but to please Him.
It is very easy for us as Americans to fall into the trap of calling our good works, which are usually done to make our selves feel better, servanthood.
When in fact God calls these things dead works, or as I like to call them - attempts buy our way into heaven.
So how do we differentiate between dead works and Godly Service? After all if we desire to please God at all we are going to have to know the difference.
While for the most part the difference is judged in the heart, based on ones attitude, motives and intensions.
There are some fairly clear ways we can distinguish the two.
I have come up with nine.
A little aside here: in just a minute here I am going to go from preaching to meddling. I just wanted to warn you.
Ok: Nine ways we can distinguish between Dead Works and Godly Service: