A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a member of our community about service.  He has for most of his life put himself into a job or a volunteer position that has placed him at the service of others.  As we discussed his lifelong decision he informed me that the key to his serving was Jesus Christ.  He firmly believed that one cannot be a Christian without serving.  This came in three parts.  He believed you had to serve your family, your church and your community.  So, today I ask you what are you doing to serve. 
Do You Serve Your Family?  I have seen this man with his wife, with his kids and with his grandkids and the word service doesn’t do him justice.  Even when his wife got sick he was still serving her.  It amazed me not just to see someone do that, but to hear the horror stories I have heard through the years it was greatly encouraging.  I have heard of husbands and wives who had to place their spouse into nursing homes because their care became to great for them.  In turn, rather than constantly sitting by their side, they viewed this as an opportunity to live it up.  I heard of one husband that started going on cruises after his wife was placed into a nursing home.  While I don’t know what kind of man he was when his wife was well, it was obvious what kind of man he was when his wife grew ill.  I know of a sister in Christ who tried to take care of her ailing mother.  When her mother’s Alzheimer’s got bad enough that she was a danger to herself she placed her in a home.  She then proceeded to give her mother baths, do her mother’s laundry, and provided at least one meal a day for her mom.  She did this even though her mother rarely knew who she was, thinking she was actually her sister.  And she did this because she believed that a Christian serves your family.  Not just in the good times, but most importantly in the not so good times.  What are you doing for your family?  And by that I mean what are you doing. Not what services are you paying for.  Not what people you line up to take care of them.  What are you doing?
Do You Serve Your Church?  In today’s society the church has become more and more separated.  He live further apart from the local church than ever before.  We live such busy lives that the church rarely finds its members spending time together, and for many churches they hire a “pastor” to do that work for them.  Sure, when may not like the term pastor to refer to the local preacher, but for many churches that is what they are looking for.  They want to hire a guy that visits all the sick, preaches all the sermons, teaches all the classes, and makes most of all the important decisions.  When a need arises in the church, call the “pastor” he’ll cover the songs, the prayers, the meals, etc.  (I am not saying that you necessarily make me feel this way).  What I am saying is that I have been around some Christians that certainly do make me feel this way.  I had one church even oddly use the term slave.  They said, they weren’t looking for a slave.  What I learned was they were looking for a “pastor” that they can cast all the work on because after all the pay me.  I don’t mind serving. It is what preachers do.  What I do mind is seeing Christians with the mindset that they don’t have to serve the church because we have a preacher now.  The service to the church can come in a variety of different ways.  We all have different gifts and I implore you to use them. 
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom. 12:6-8).”

Do Your Serve Your Community?  Another area that often suffers in our ever busy lives is serving our local community.  Last year I had the opportunity to see why this was so important.  As I coached Josiah’s football team I saw a young boy whose life was in total chaos.  His parents were going through a nasty divorce.  He showed up to one game without his gear on, a requirement to play in the league.  (He had  matching yellow shirt) begging me to let him play.  His mother refused to allow him to come home and get his stuff.  I talked to the other coaches and refs and we permitted him to play.  He needed the escape football brought to him.  He needed a parental figure that wasn’t failing him.  And the sad reality was that he wasn’t the only kid who I have seen whose father’s weren’t involved.  In my two years of coaching I have become familiar with most of the teams’ mothers.  I have only known 3-4 dads.  These kids needed me, not just to coach, but to be that kind of stability and if only for a season, show them what a father is supposed to be doing.  (That is being involved in their kids lives).  This is not to say you need to start coaching a sport.  They are a number of ways that you can serve your community.  Volunteer opportunities are all around us.  Instead of worrying about whether or not someone might take advantage of your service, you worry about whether not God is seeing your take advantage of your opportunities to serve.  Remember, even his own Son said, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28).”

Grinnell church of Christ
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At Your Service

The Light
Volume 7 Issue 27