Summary: Serving doesn’t make you a servant, but if you are a servant you will serve.
Settling the Servanthood Issue
Rev. Brian Bill
Play “Me Church” Video (http://www.worshiphousemedia.com). We live in a “me-first” culture that encourages us to think of ourselves first and others…well, rarely. We’re told to focus on our self-image, to be involved in self-actualization and to be self-reliant. There’s even an entire magazine called “Self” just in case we start thinking too much of others and need help getting the focus back on ourselves. Because we’re saturated with messages about self, it’s easy to bring this mentality to church and expect the congregation to cater to us and to treat God like a genie whose only purpose is to meet our needs. In his book called “The Ministry Playbook,” Henry Klopp writes: “Many Christians believe the way to evaluate the health and effectiveness of the church is by figuring out the degree to which the church meets their own individual needs…”
We’re beginning a new series today called “Living Beyond Myself.” Since we follow a Savior who serves us, how can we not get out of our seats and into service? We need some help learning how to live beyond self so that we can stop defaulting to our selfish settings. I’m praying that during this sermon series God will ignite a fire that will revitalize our hearts and burn within us a white-hot passion for servanthood. Our focus today is on settling the servanthood issue. Here’s our menu of messages:
• September 3: Doing What You Were Made to Do (Ephesians 2:10)
• September 10: Serving According to Your Shape (1 Corinthians 12:1-7)
• September 17: Jumping in to Ministry (1 Peter 4:10)
Did you know that the word “servant” in one form or another is used over 1,000 times in the Bible? That means it’s a very big deal to God and should be to us as well. In Numbers 12:7, God refers to Moses with these words: “My servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house.” Abraham, David and Job are called “my servant” by God. When Paul, James, Peter and Jude introduced themselves in their letters, the first thing they did was to identify themselves as servants. Here’s just a sampling:
Romans 1:1: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…”
James 1:1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…”
2 Peter 1:1: “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ…”
Jude 1: “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ…”
Do you see yourself as a servant or just a volunteer? There’s a world of difference between the two. A volunteer picks and chooses when and even whether to serve. A servant serves no matter what. A volunteer serves when convenient; a servant serves out of commitment. 1 Peter 2:16 challenges us to “…live as servants of God.” As I survey Scripture, you and I are called first to be servants, and second to serve. We must settle the fact that we are called to a life of servanthood that leads to loving acts of service. Serving flows from the heart of a servant. We could say it this way: Serving doesn’t make you a servant; but if you are a servant you will serve.
I am honored to be part of a church that is saturated with servants. As Pastor Dick said last week, we don’t want to be a church where 20% of our people do 80% of the work. I’m not sure what the percentage is here, but I know that many of you are sold out to the Savior and to selfless service. 57 of you made a commitment last week to be involved in serving this fall. That is amazing but not surprising because this church is filled with faithful servants. I had the privilege of meeting with our ministry coordinators this past Wednesday night and was reminded again of how committed so many of you are to ministry. You have unlocked the secrets of serving and you wouldn’t trade it for anything.
One day Jesus revealed the importance of serving with no strings attached. I should warn you ahead of time that this passage is not for the faint of heart. If we’re serious about growing in depth this year, our spiritual syllabus contains some pretty tough assignments. Please turn in your Bible to Luke 17:7-10 and follow along as I read: “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”