Have you been approached about doing something that after hearing about it, you think “I get to do that? Wow!” It could be a friend who has an extra ticket to the NCAA Final Four tournament and asks you to go with him. Or you’ve just gotten your driver’s permit and your mom asks you to drive her to the mall. Or you’ve been diligent with your guitar lessons and the church’s worship team wants you to play at the Christmas Eve service. Or you’ve loved children since you were little and you’re asked to help with one of the Kidtown groups. Or you’ve been a member of a life group and you’re asked to be the leader. As you think about being one of these individuals, is your reaction still “I get to do that? Wow!” or is your reaction “I have to do that?” The Bible does not teach that service should be approached with a “have to do this” but rather as a “I get to do this” attitude. Romans 12:7-8 tells us that “If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Psalms 100:2 tells us to “Serve the Lord with gladness.” We can’t serve gladly if we don’t approach the possibility of serving somewhere at First Christian Church with a “Wow! I get to do this!” attitude.
What You Get to Do
You can’t spend much time around First Christian without hearing three phrases—love God, love people, serve others. This is the process we follow as we go about our mission of leading people closer to Jesus Christ. Our FREE-SPONSIBILITY series continues this week with the focus on service. We find these words in Acts 6 (NIV): In those days when the number of disciples was increasing… (v.1) The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly… (v.7) Verses 2-6 tell the story of how service changed an increasing church into a rapidly increasing church. Here’s an example of how this concept has worked at First Christian. Exactly four years ago today, Haiti was devastated by an earthquake. The human need was beyond our imagination. One of our members had an idea that we could help by putting a trailer in the parking lot of our N. Mulberry campus. It would be a collection point for people who wanted to donate needed supplies. Another member secured a trailer from a local trucking company. A team of workers organized and implemented the collection process. The first Sunday the trailer was on site, a couple, new to our community, made their first visit to First Christian. They saw a growing church that valued service. They came back. Today they get to serve in a church that is growing rapidly. When the church does what God wants it to do (serve cheerfully), the church does what God wants it to do (grow rapidly).
You Get to Be Generous
We may not admit it, but we like rules. It all starts when we are children. Don’t cross the street without holding hands, no running in the hallway, stop drop and roll, and the list goes on. Those rules – like them or not – stick with us and when we are young they guide us and keep us safe. As adults we cling to similar, simple rules to guide us. When it comes to money we have a number of those little rules. Never discuss money, my money-my business, a penny saved is a penny earned (OK, we’ll adjust for inflation, a twenty saved is a twenty earned), and on and on. The focus of those rules all seem to be very selfish; they are all about my money, saving for me, taking care of me. Simple rules and guidance can be very helpful, even when it comes to money. Jesus provides us with a very simple rule for dealing with our blessings of money and resources, “Give and it will be given to you.” Along with this rule He provides a good motivation for us to give, “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) In Malachi 4:3 we read, “Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” We are nearing the end of our One Shot campaign. The opportunity to test the simple rules is here. Give and it will be given to you!
Attitude is Everything
Every championship team looks back at the hard work they invested throughout the season with a smile as they carry the trophy off the field. Each of those players understands that the blood, sweat, and tears that were spent on the practice field had a great deal to do with the ultimate outcome of their season. It was the team that saw practicing as a joy that reached its ultimate goal. Folks on the sideline looked on as those players gave of themselves day after day, drill after drill, for hours upon end working on the practice field. And many of the onlookers couldn’t understand how or why those players wanted to be out there practicing for all those long hours. There was another team whose players dreaded practice and who hated the thought of giving maximum effort each day. That team ended up with a miserable season. Giving of our resources for use in God’s kingdom is often viewed by many people as a rough practice in the middle of a hot, sunny day. Each of us has to decide if we view giving as drudgery and torture or if we see it as a joyful opportunity to invest in something that will produce great rewards. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
We Get to Do Life Together
Rick Warren wrote the book “A Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” several years ago. The book was an overnight success. It still sells thousands of copies each year. Why? Because we instinctively know God created each of us to do something. We each possess a unique set of skills, talents, experiences, backgrounds, and a host of other characteristics that make us who we are. That combination makes us unlike anyone else in the world. God made us for a purpose. When we discover that purpose, we find activities, jobs, careers, and volunteer opportunities that fulfill our purpose. No one needs to tell us to do what God made us to do. When we find it, we will want to fulfill our purpose. Peter gives us some important instruction to those of us who are leaders, specifically leaders in the church. In 1 Peter 5:2-3 (NLT), Peter instructs us to “care for the flock that God has entrusted to you….willingly, not grudgingly and not for what you will get out of it” and to “lead them by your own good example.” As leaders, whether we are a life group leader, elder, deacon, or on the ministry staff, we must be careful not to take our leadership role to a level of superiority over those we lead but instead to serve with humility and lead by Jesus’ example.