Serving When Too Busy
Life has a lot of responsibilities, and it would be nice to get a few of them sorted out before adding regular service. If you think that you’ll start serving after you get things squared away, you won’t. There’s always some excuse not to serve. Jesus doesn’t want your excuses, he wants you. If you’re too busy to serve, then you are too busy.
Serving When Spiritually Weak
Perhaps you feel unworthy to serve. This is one of my struggles—how could God use someone like me? 1 Corinthians 1:27 reminds us that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” Knowing you are weak is a wonderful starting point for service. It’s where Simon Peter started when Jesus called him. Seeing the power and holiness of Jesus, Simon “fell at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord'” (Luke 5:8b). As he did with Simon, Jesus uses people of contrite spirits to do his work, using that work to expand their service capacity.
Serving When Not Gifted
Knowing your God-given gifts is a great step in determining where you may be of most use. However, spiritual gifts aren’t the only metric by which we gauge our ability to serve. There may be times when a great need, a wonderful opportunity, or a change in circumstance may be a better indicator.
In Nehemiah, people come together to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. With God’s guidance, they overcome opposition and hardship to complete their task. In Chapter 3, there is a description of the people doing the work: priests, goldsmiths, perfumers, and merchants; men and women even came from other towns to help. Wall building was likely not a skill any of them natively possessed, but the need was there.
A perceived lack of gifting in an area may cause you to think that your contribution will be small or substandard. The contribution of the woman who gave her two coins to the offering in Luke 21:2 was small but greatly blessed because she gave all she had.
Serving When Hurt
It’s hard to serve God and others when we are in pain, especially if that pain is caused by those we are serving.
The week leading up to Jesus’s crucifixion must have been consistently painful: as he entered triumphantly on Palm Sunday, he knew that in just a week he would be killed; as he washed his disciples’ feet, he knew they would all run when he was taken; as he ate dinner with them, he knew Peter would deny him and Judas would betray him. Yet, Jesus went willingly into the pain of the cross to serve God and us. He bore the sins of those who spat on him and murdered him.
Jesus suffered this way to pay the penalty for our sins and reconcile us to God, and also that we would know that he understands our suffering. We can feel confident to find solace and comfort in Jesus because he has also suffered.
Serving Courageously and Constantly
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. A master calls his servants together and gives them some money. The first servant receives five chests of money and the second. two chests and the last receive one. The first and second servants use the money in trade and commerce and double their money. The last servant is afraid of losing the money, so he buries it. When the master returns, he rewards the first two servants and punishes the last servant for doing nothing.
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