ISSUE: 2012, Volume 9, Issue 2
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Serving the Lord is the privilege and responsibility of every born-again believer. When Paul wrote in 1st Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 9-10, he referred to a past, present, and future event in their lives. He reminded them of their past, when they were saved, ‘you turned to God from idols’. He directed their gaze to their future hope, ‘to wait for His Son from heaven’. Sandwiched in between the past, when they turned to God, and the future, when they would be with God, was their life here upon the earth. This life, says Paul, represents a wonderful opportunity for every believer ‘to serve the living and true God’.
An obvious place for all believers, including young believers, to serve the Lord is the sphere of the local assembly. It provides the opportunity to serve the Lord along with other believers, which is an important aspect of service. When the Lord sent out His disciples to preach the gospel, He did not send them out one by one, but two by two, Mark 6. 7. When the Holy Spirit called Paul to serve God, He did not call Paul alone but Barnabus as well, Acts 13. 2. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expressed his gratitude for those in the assembly, male and female, who laboured alongside him in the proclamation of the gospel, Phil. 4. 3. Serving together provides mutual encouragement, shares the burden of the work, gives opportunity for learning, and strengthens fellowship.
Each individual assembly is different, but all will offer some opportunities for service. There are the obvious areas, such as various forms of gospel outreach, for example, working with children, leaflet distribution, coffee mornings, Parent and Toddlers, working with ladies, and praying for the work. There are also less obvious areas, such as cleaning the church premises, maintenance of the building, providing and preparing refreshments for particular occasions, etc. Serving the Lord is certainly not all about preaching.
The ‘natural cycle of life’ means that as time goes on the saints in an assembly get older. With this aging process comes a gradual reduction in the ability of aged saints to undertake the work that they have previously done. Without the input from young believers, the testimony of the assembly in the future will suffer. It is the responsibility of younger believers to consider, before the Lord, how they can best serve Him in the assembly, and to be willing to offer to do so. It is the responsibility of the older believers to be willing to share these opportunities with the young, to train them and guide them, and to encourage them to take a greater share of the work.
As if it were not enough that God has saved us, and has prepared for us an eternal home in heaven, in His grace He has fitted us for divine service, Heb. 9. 14. In addition to this, it also pleases Him to reward us for any service that we do for Him. In the parable of the talents, Matt. 25. 14-30, the Lord assessed the value of His servants work on His return from the far country, and His commendation for those who had used the talents entrusted to them in His absence was ’well done thou good and faithful servant’.
From this and other passages we learn that everything that we do in service for the Lord will be rewarded at the Judgement Seat of Christ. Any effort that we put in, any time that we spend, any loss that we suffer, is an investment in the Bank of Heaven. This investment will pay dividends for all eternity, Matt. 6. 19-20. How awesome is that!