Summary: Fourth message on how we are shaped for God’s purpose adapted from Rick Warren "Purpose Driven Life."
YOU WERE FASHIONED FOR SERVING GOD Eph. 2:20
Did you know that in 1977 Elvis Presley died of obesity and drug dependency at 42? An interview with his wife, Priscilla, she said: “Elvis never came to terms with who he was meant to be or what his purpose in life was. He thought he was here for a reason, maybe to preach, maybe to serve, maybe to save, maybe to care for people. That agonizing desire was always with him and he knew he wasn’t fulfilling it. So he’d go on stage and he wouldn’t have to think about it.” In spite of enormous success, Elvis was, according to friends, an unfulfilled and unhappy man.
What about you, have you ever felt there was something more that God intended for your life? God made you to make a contribution, not just to consume but to make a difference. It doesn’t matter how long you live, but how much are you putting into the life you are living. What the contribution you give of your life is more important than how long your life lasts. You are here to serve. “Each of us should use whatever gift he’s received to serve others.” 1PT 4:10 You were shaped for serving God. Ministry simply means helping somebody in the name of God. Did you know the Bible says “service” and “ministry” is the same word? All of us are called to serve. Remember that life is preparation for eternity! God put us on earth to practice and practice! The good news is that God gave us a model. Jesus Christ, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” MT 20:28 Listen your abilities determine your ministry, but your attitude determines your maturity. God wants you to serve with maturity – a good attitude. How many spend much of their time searching for self-worth and significance? But they look in the wrong place! The Bible says you get your self-esteem from service. Jesus said to give your life away in order to find it. The greatest thrill in the world is to be used by God. What does it take to serve like Jesus? Three characteristics to look at.
1. IT MEANS BEING AVAILABLE.
“Two blind men were sitting by the roadside. And they shouted, ‘Lord, have mercy on us!’ Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you? He asked’.” MT 20:30-32 Notice the word “stopped”. Jesus was willing to be interrupted. Most of Jesus’ ministry and miracles were interruptions. Pro. 3:28 “Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.” Servant-hearted people are natural and responsive. They say “OK, let’s do it!” There are hurting people all around us and the wounded will not wait. God gives us his power when we are willing to serve. John Wesley’s said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, by all the ways you can, in all the places you can, and at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” What might make us unavailable?
a. Feeling of Self-importance. LK 10:30-37 The first attitude we see here is “keep your distance.” Do not get to close to people or you might have to help them. We live in a world where people do not want to be bothered. We have what is called a cocoon people. We drive through our neighborhood push the garage door opener. Climb out of our cars and go directly into our homes without having to talk with any one. Many can do their banking right from home or direct deposit. We talk to each other through e-mail. When we eat out we can go to drive up window and be alone. Many times when we use our phones we talk to an automated system or answering machine. All of these keep us at a distance and as the saying goes, “out of sight out of mind.” Another attitude is you can look but do not get involved. We see the need like the Levite and even know what has happened but fail to take action to help. We are like t hat if we are stuck in a traffic jam and get impatient but when we get to the scene of what has happened we drive by not giving any help. These two men felt too important to help one in need. The third man stopped and helped and his attitude was to treat this person as he would want to be treated.
b. Feeling of Idealism. “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.” Eccl. 11:4 In America, we have a made an idol out of excellence. There are some Christians who say, “If you can’t do it first class, don’t even try.” Everything doesn’t have to be perfect for God to bless. If God only used perfect people would you be used? We all have weakness, faults, failures and limitations. God can use us all. He used a donkey that talked to keep a man from sure death. He used a big fish to turn a man around to speak His word.