Can I Get Some Service Please: Part I

by Joanna Pierce on July 28, 2016

Due to societal norms, recent generations have been trained to develop a self-focused and self-serving attitude. Most have the mentality of “put myself first and others later.” But, if we are going to be effective in these last days, we need to change our mindset and seek to understand and apply true service in God’s kingdom.

Importance of Service

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6–8, KJV).

Our service in the kingdom is a large part of our walk with God—it’s just as important as our worship, prayer, fasting, giving, etc. A wise man once said: God did not save us to sit; He saved us to serve. We cannot say that we are like Jesus if we cannot point to some place in our life where we put ourselves aside and serve His kingdom.

How Service Happens

Service in the kingdom can come in many forms: administration, work and labor, communication, helping, caring, hospitality, leadership, giving, craftsmanship, intercession, etc. But, all of these modes of service map to one thing—people! God’s kingdom is all about serving Him and serving other people.

Frustration in Ministry

If we are working for God’s kingdom it’s going to cost us our time and energy. If we don’t do it with the right motives, we’ll get burn out. People get frustrated in ministry because:

  • There is always more demand than there is supply
  • Ministry goes unappreciated
  • It is the only work that takes from all 3 aspects of your being—body, soul, and spirit

Ministry is going to take our all, but God has never put us into something that He hasn’t given us the strength or ability to do. In reality, all frustration in ministry stems from a lack of true knowledge about what service really means.

What is Service?

Service Only Happens When We Don’t Care What We Get Out of It

Many of us enter into service with pre-conceived notions and expectations about the ministry. We want to see a certain number of participants, events organized a certain way, etc. If we don’t see or get our desired outcome from service, we don’t want to continue the work. We need to stay the course and keep serving regardless of our expectations.

Service Only Happens Because of Who We Really Serve

Many people don’t want to serve because of people; if people didn’t exist, they’d be the first ones to sign up to serve! But, we have to look past people and realize it’s not others we’re serving—it’s the Lord. When we realize that everything we’re doing is for the Lord, we’ll have a better understanding of true service. God holds us accountable for what we do, and will hold other’s accountable for what they receive.

Service is About Becoming Less and Not More

The world wants us to grow bigger and better, but God teaches us to become smaller and less—this is His definition of success and service. John the Baptist taught people to decrease so God can increase (John 3:30). Everything we do is to give God glory—people should see Jesus and not us when we serve!

We also shouldn’t compare ourselves to others in the ministry who are serving. What does it matter if our brothers and sisters have a larger role in the kingdom? What is it to us if they are doing less work? Jesus mitigated many of these issues with His disciples (Mark 9:35; John 21:21–23), admonishing them to become the least in the kingdom.

The true beauty of servanthood in the kingdom is to serve where God puts us. We should never develop pride and become “puffed up” about who we think we are in the kingdom, and how our work is more important (Proverbs 16:18). It’s all the Lord’s work, and it’s His kingdom!

Service is About Submission

We need to prioritize our service under another person, church, ministry, etc. Our mission should never go before another person. Scripture tells us to submit ourselves to one another (Ephesians 5:21)!

Jesus gave the greatest example of submission when He washed the disciple’s feet (John 13:6–8). He taught that service is all about meeting the basic needs and starting out at the bottom. When we serve with submission, and do it for God’s glory, all carnality will be put aside—just like prayer and fasting. It’s hard to be carnal when we’re washing someone else’s feet.

Service is About Serving One Another the Way Jesus Served

Jesus told His disciples as He washed their feet, they needed to do the same (John 13:12–14). If Jesus was great enough to serve the disciples, we need to be great enough to serve others.

Jesus didn’t serve others for any recognition—He did it out of love. Our human nature is to desire to receive accolades and affirmation when we do a “good job” in our service. But, instead of seeking man’s approval, we need to look for the Lord’s approval (Matthew 25:21).

Service is About Consistency

When Jesus hung on the cross for our sins, He had the power to step down. But, Jesus decided to stay on the cross and be the ultimate sacrifice for everyone—past, present, and future. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to serve with consistency and not give up or throw in the towel. We need to keep going and faint not in our service for the kingdom (Galatians 6:9). We need to use the towel to wipe the sweat from our faces and keep serving!

Service is About Ownership

When we take ownership of service in God’s kingdom, the outcome will be different. There were servants mentioned in the Bible who “addicted” themselves to the ministry (I Corinthians 16:15). The word addicted means tassó in the Greek, which means to assign, arrange, or determine. These servants of the Lord assigned themselves to the ministry, and poured themselves into it.

Paul event noted that He was so invested in service that he would gladly be spent and exhausted for the kingdom (II Corinthians 12:15). When we take our service personally, we will give it our all for the Lord.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on July 27, 2016