With a choice between serving and being served; to be served is the common choice. Is this your choice? Is life about being served? There are some who even expect the Lord to be their servant as they believe that they can set their own way to Heaven and God will move Heaven and Earth to accept them.
The role of a Christian, is it a situation where we are served or that we serve? The scriptures declare that we are servants of God (Luke 4:8).
There are three examples drawn on by the Apostle Paul when he discusses our service to the Lord. He compares our service to that of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. Let’s use our time together to consider our service to God and how these three analogies provide examples to learn, and improve from.
A soldier teaches us to serve with diligence (vs. 3-4)
A soldier is an apt characterization of a Christian. We must make a stronghold at the lines of truth. We are to be soldiers in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). In 2 Timothy 2:1-7, Paul speaks of us as needed to be strong and here again the words “be strong” are present.
In the Lord’s “army” we are servants strengthened in our commitment to serve by the hope of victory and the promise of help in our times of need. A soldier demonstrates the required diligence of our service. Can you imagine a soldier that falls asleep at the post or that is so preoccupied with other things that he is day-dreaming in the middle of a battle?
We also require diligent effort to succeed as servants of Christ. We are not to be entangled (preoccupied) with this world (Romans 12:1-2). We need to prove ourselves as diligent servants (Romans 12:11; 2 Peter 3:14).
An athlete teaches us to serve according to the rules (vs. 5)
The famous Boston Marathon is a world-renown athletic event. There are very important rules; even as there are in every athletic competition. In 1980 a woman named Rosie Ruiz joined the race somewhere in mile twenty-five and ran the last mile of the race coming in first place—setting a new women’s world record of 2 hours and 31 minutes for the marathon. After eight days it was finally discover that this “great runner” was a cheat and a fraud that she was striped of her rewards. Since that time a need to monitor the runners and the rules has become more and more of a concern, because there are no rewards for those who do not compete according to the rules.
Rules are important; we have rules to follow as servants of God. Jesus says, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things that I say?” (Luke 6:46). We have rules to run by and the prize is Heaven. We have to run according the rules. All the rules! John 8:31 says, “Abide in My word” means all of His words. 2 John 2:9 says, “Abide in the doctrine of Christ” means all of His doctrine. Matthew 28:19 teaches us to “observe all things that [Christ has] commanded” this means all “things”.
To serve by the rules; we must know the rules! Ephesians 5:8-10 directs us to “Find out what is pleasing to the Lord” and 1 Timothy 4:13 &16 point to the need to “read” and “take heed”. We need to win; we need to follow the rules (Hebrews 12:1 “run with endurance”).
A farmer teaches us to serve through hard work (vs. 6)
The farmer as a servant demonstrates hard work. We are told, only the one that has done the work will taste the benefits. The qualification of this servant’s work is “hard work”. The necessity of hard work is easily understood from the first two examples.
As Christians, we are involved in a service that cannot be accomplished without hard work (Matthew 7:13-14). Regardless the times of difficulty or the times of ease we all must continue and no one can take our share of the work for us. In Ephesians 4:16 we are told that every part is expected to do “ITS share”.
We must know that our reward far outweighs our work. The words of Jesus “Well done My good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of your Lord” (Matthew 25:23) and the word of promised rest in Revelation 14:12-13 are a cause of great hope.
Not all soldiers receive honor, not all athletes win the prize, not all farmer’s taste of a bountiful yield. We must be diligent to find the victory. We must serve according to the rules to gain the prize. We must be patient and careful workers to taste the blessing of eternal life.
Diligent, directed, and defined effort equals “A love to serve”. Do you love to serve?
God is desirous of those who are willing to seek Him and serve Him (Acts 17:27). It is different than the world to love to be the servant. There are rules leading to the rewards. There are also rules involved in becoming a Christian—the plan salvation is to hear and believe the Gospel, to repent of our sins, confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and be baptized in water for the remission of your sins. From the point of baptism we must continue to serve diligently according to the rules through thick and thin. Do you love to serve?
By Sean Sullivan
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