Summary: This sermon is the third in a series of ten on Motivational Spiritual Gifts which communicates the characteristics of the Gift of Serving in order to allow the Holy Spirit opportunity to reveal this gift to those who have it.
We’re looking at the Motivational Spiritual Gifts from the Word of God. And we’ve already established the fact that there are three categories of gifts; Motivational, Ministry and Manifestation gifts. Last week we looked at the Gift of Prophecy, the heart gift of Prophecy and the person who personifies the profile of a prophet heart was Peter. This week we want to look at the Motivational Spiritual Gift of Serving. The KJV translates the word for serving as “ministry” The NIV, as well as most other modern versions use the word “serving.” Now, the Greek word is “diakonia” which means “to do service.” It conveys the idea of doing practical things in order to be of service to others. That’s where we get our word deacon.
The person who personifies the profile of a server is Timothy. Timothy was Paul’s son in the ministry, they had a special relationship. And as a server heart, Timothy needed a Paul in his life because a server needs someone in authority over them. This is because a server receives joy in helping, assisting people, carrying out instructions and just being of use in a wide variety of ways. So let’s look at:
I. The Characteristics of the Gift of Serving
1. See and meet practical needs
The server has an ability to see practical needs in people’s lives and has a desire to meet those needs. They’re “Johnny on the spot.” Important needs that would seem insignificant to others, catch the eye and attention of the server. They can spot a need a mile away. Now these needs are usually physical; however, the server knows that by meeting those needs they will bring encouragement and strength to those who receive help. Of course, quickness in meeting needs may cause a server to appear “pushy or intrusive.” A server will put extra touches to jobs. They’ll go the second mile and do more than is expected.
2. Frees others to achieve
The joy of the server is not just in initiating tasks, but knowing that through their service they’re bringing a peace of mind to another person which will allow that person to be more productive in the tasks which God has called them to do. In other words, it gives them pleasure to free others to do more important things, not just to keep busy. Even though, they tend to feel inadequate and unqualified for spiritual leadership. Timothy served Paul so that Paul could carry out his ministry.
3. Disregard for weariness
Because the server sees the importance of the tasks which they’ve begun, they’ll freely use up their own personal assets of time, money and strength. They’ll work beyond physical limits sometimes resulting in physical problems. They’ll just go and go and go, like the “energizer bunny.” And in doing so, the server has a tendency to overlook personal health and comfort in serving others. Their focus is not on oneself, but rather on the completion of the tasks which they know will benefit the individual and bring joy to themselves. Their disregard for personal needs may even extend to their own family’s needs.
4. Difficulty saying “no”
They tend to get involved in too many things. As the server effectively meets one need, others may ask for similar help, not realizing the inner motivation of the server. However, requests for help are difficult to turn down because they represent needs and the server feels obligated at having been asked. A server is good at taking care of everybody else, except themselves. And as a result of saying “yes” and getting over-involved or over-committed they have a tendency to get side-tracked. Timothy was told twice by Paul not to get side-tracked: “Do diligence to come shortly unto me . . . Do diligence to come before winter.” (2 Timothy 4:9,21)
5. Alert to likes and dislikes
Those with the gift of serving have an amazing ability to find out and remember the special interests of the people they serve. Birthdays and anniversaries are special occasions for them. They can often recall favorite foods, special colors, types of home furnishings and favorite activities. They use this knowledge in making occasions special. Timothy was instructed to bring Paul his cloak, books and especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13).
6. Need for appreciation
It’s not that Servers serve in order to be praised, but appreciation assures them that they’ve done well. It confirms to the server that their work is necessary and is being blessed by the Lord. The server likes to be in charge of things, but you don’t want to be # 1. Timothy was given more instruction and praise by Paul than any other assistant.
7. Like Short-range projects
The tasks which attract a server are usually immediate needs. They prefer short-term projects. Therefore, the server often becomes frustrated with long-range responsibilities or a continuous task which seems to have no immediate or visible progress. The server also desires clear direction. And a server prefers working with a person or group rather than alone. In fact, put them in a group and they’ll out work everybody, but don’t leave them by themselves. Timothy was always being encouraged by Paul to maintain the endurance of a soldier and continue in the calling that he was given (1 Timothy 4:16 and 2 Timothy 2:3).