I had some repentance to do when I listened to this sermon. I have to confess that there are moments when the mere thought of serving puts me in a state of panic, and there are also times when serving propels me to a ‘spiritual high’ - panic, because of the constant fear of not doing well; the latter usually comes about after completing a task.
But this wasn’t the case when I first accepted the Lord. Back then, I would serve in several ministries concurrently, so much so that friends would comment, ‘you are serving all over church!’. Well, not all over church literally, but yes – I would even volunteer at the church office whenever the opportunity arises. I was consistently joyful, enthusiastic, never tired and looking forward to serving each time I am on duty. To top it all off, I was also holding a demanding job in the investment banking industry at that time. I felt so close to the Lord each time I was serving.
God opened doors and led me to several mission trips over the years. As anyone who had gone on a mission trip would testify, preparing for such a trip required detailed planning and execution, especially if it involved flying to a foreign country whose native language one did not speak. The initial excitement of serving the Lord in the mission field very quickly waned. I remember being very frazzled and stressed, having to organise my role for the mission trip and handling work issues simultaneously. I had sleepless nights and cried out to God, ‘I am serving You both at the marketplace and in the mission field at the same time, only You can see me through this.’ I do not want to be the deadweight to either the mission trip team or in the workplace, where we are trying to pitch our services to a new client for a major transaction then. I seriously contemplated quitting the mission trip team.
Perhaps it was a case of bad time management on my part, but God restores. He was and is faithful and caused the mission trip to be a fruitful one, and we also won the deal at work at the same time. (I had to attend to several work calls during the trip – God truly blessed me with multi-tasking abilities!)
Thank God for wonderful mission trip teammates and understanding workmates. I learnt that if God calls me to it, He will also equip me for it.
But serving the Lord isn’t limited to just duties within the confines of the church domain.
Colossians 3:17 reminds us that “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
‘…whatever I do…’
After leaving the marketplace in pursuit of other life priorities, I began to question what purpose does God have for me. I doubt my parents aspired to have me cook and clean daily as my sole vocation, after having spent their hard-earned savings on my education. Nothing wrong with doing household chores, but I began to resent such ‘hard work’, when I cannot even perform them well to begin with. But I am reminded that God has put me in such a position in this season of my life; surely, this is an avenue to serve Him even in the most menial of tasks. I choose to worship the Lord even while doing laundry and cleaning food scraps off dishes. A job worth doing, is indeed a job worth doing well.
It is not so much as serving for serving’s sake; it is more of a revelation of Who I am serving. God has allowed me to be part of His story! I am, after all, an imperfect human being used by a perfect God for His glory. 1 Peter 4:10 is a reminder that God made and blessed me with unique gifts, passions and experiences to serve Him as only I can. The least I can do is to serve Him with it. My Heavenly Father is a generous God – He multiplies the time back to you, each time you expend time serving Him! He will not short-change those who serve Him.
I have learnt to serve God by His spirit and not in my own strength – serving in my own strength will entail incessant complaining and murmuring, and God will not be pleased. It is my prayer that my serving will serve (no pun intended) as an encouragement to others and as a channel to spread God’s love. God first loved me by sending Jesus to the cross on my behalf – He loves me so much that He did not withhold Jesus. God loves me so much and has given me everything I need to lead a godly life – this forms the core of my motivation to serve Him, in light of eternity.
‘… giving thanks to God the Father…’
Before I was born, God already knew me. God set me apart and called me by His marvellous grace. As God’s chosen, I ought to be eternally thankful to Him! And I am! There is no greater privilege and honour than to be called by God to serve Him in everything I do! It is never about me – it is all about Him. This revelation is my reminder to always maintain a good attitude, to serve Him with a heart of gratitude and be thankful to Him in whatever and all I do. THANK YOU, LORD JESUS.