Summary: We need to discover our specific SHAPE so that we will know what kinds of service God has ordained for us.
A. The story is told of a little boy named Johnny who had trouble pronouncing the letter “R”.
1. To try to help him with the problem, his teacher gave him this sentence to practice at home: “Robert gave Richard a rap in the rib for roasting the rabbit so rare.”
2. A few days later the teacher asked him how he was doing with the sentence, and she asked him to recite it for her.
3. Little Johnny quickly rattled off this sentence, “Bob gave Dick a poke in the side for not cooking the bunny enough.”
4. You see, Johnny did all he could to avoid using the letter “R”. (Story borrowed from “Commitment to Serve” by Marilyn Murphree)
5. That got me thinking about how some people avoid getting involved with words that start with “S”, like serving, servant and sacrifice.
B. I got a kick out of this statement, “Who says nothing is impossible - I’ve been doing nothing for years.”
C. Even though I have begun with something lighthearted, this is not a subject to be taken lightly.
1. Last week we discussed the transforming truth that we have a purpose.
2. God has made us on purpose and with a purpose.
3. We have been saved to serve, and God will surely hold us accountable for our gifts, talents and opportunities for service.
4. Last week we also discussed the fact that God has created us for general purposes and specific purposes, and that we need to discover what those purposes are.
D. One question that I did not address last week that deserves an answer is the question – “How can we discover our specific purposes?”
1. I think it is unfair and downright wrong to assume that the person who is not serving is simply selfish, and rebellious – that they just don’t want to serve.
2. The reasons behind a person’s lack of involvement can be varied and complicated.
3. Certainly, there may be those whose reasons for not serving include the fact that they are unspiritual and self-centered – that is true for some.
4. But there are those who aren’t serving because they lack faith and are fearful.
5. Then there are some who don’t serve because they are overwhelmed by life and burdened down with difficulties.
6. But there are also those who just don’t know where to start or how to start.
7. I would like to address this sermon to those who really do want to serve, but just don’t know how to get started.
E. Our Scripture reading for today is one of my favorite texts about serving.
1. The Bible says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
2. We learn a number of important truths from those two verses.
3. First, we learn that God’s grace can be administered in various forms.
a. God’s mission has many forms and aspects.
b. There is not just one type of ministry or way to do ministry.
c. So God’s grace must be ministered in its various forms.
4. Second, we learn that God has gifted each of us in different ways. That seems simple enough, doesn’t it? We each have different gifts.
5. Finally, we learn that God supplies what is needed for us to be able use our gifts to serve.
a. God promises to give us His words, and His strength to accomplish His good purposes, so that God will be praised.
b. What we need to understand this morning is when we step out and trust God and use our gifts, God is going to show up and energize those gifts and do more through us than we ever could have imagined we could do.
c. Keep in mind that God often makes known His strength through our weaknesses.
6. Hopefully, these truths will help us overcome the feeling that we all have to serve in the same ways.
a. That is not God’s will nor His design.
7. And hopefully, these truths will help us overcome our fear of not being adequate for the task.
a. Truth is – we will never be adequate. God is the one who makes us adequate for the mission.
b. We can’t do it on our own – God doesn’t want us trying to do it on our own, in our own strength.
c. But we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength (Phil. 4:13).