By Charles F. Stanley
How do you know if you are a strong believer? Among other things, you willingly serve God and other people. In other words, you are obedient to the Father’s commands, and—following His leading—you respond to people in need. Although this description will characterize strong believers, God desires for all of His children to be His servants.
As Christians, we are called to a life of serving God and others.
Most people are more than willing to let others do dirty, uncomfortable, and difficult tasks. Those without Christ may at times manipulate circumstances and hurt other people to get the positions they desire and avoid having to serve anyone.
But as followers of Jesus, we are called to be different from the world. Our Lord said, “Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:27-28). These were shocking words to people oppressed by Rome, and they are no less surprising today. Human nature wants to be first, not last. We enjoy being in control.
Consider the powerful example our Lord set for us while He walked this earth. At the Last Supper, He willingly washed the disciples’ feet—something usually done by the lowest servant in the household—to demonstrate how they should treat each other. Even more significantly, He laid down His life in the ultimate act of service so that you and I can have fellowship with the Father (Matt. 20:28).
Following Jesus’ example, Paul, Timothy, James, and Peter—leaders of the early church—referred to themselves as bondservants or slaves of Christ. In their letters to the churches, they chose not to emphasize their leadership positions, but focused instead on humility and service to the Lord.
What does all this mean for today’s believer? As God’s people, we no longer have the right to live our lives as we please. We were saved, in part, to become servants of the one true God (Heb. 9:14). You and I are called to serve the Lord in whatever ways He leads us. Thankfully, Christ does not expect us to serve Him in our own strength.
Jesus, who lives within us, wants to empower us to serve God.
Have you ever felt too weak to serve God? Maybe you feel needy or inadequate, and wonder how you could possibly be a blessing to someone else. It might surprise you to learn that you don’t have to feel strong to be a good servant of the Lord. No one is strong enough to serve God in his own ability.
The Holy Spirit wants to equip you to be an excellent servant of God. Whatever the Lord calls you to do, He will enable you to do it. He will provide for you, energize you, strengthen you, direct you, and give you wisdom and guidance. In the following verses, notice the emphasis on God working through us: “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13) and “Faithful is He who calls you…He also will bring it to pass” (1Thess. 5:24).
Another way to say this is Jesus wants to live His life through you. In His power, you and I are strong enough to serve the Lord. When He tells you to do something difficult, ask Him to enable you to make the right decision and to strengthen you as you follow His instructions. Christ will be faithful to provide all that you need to be obedient.
Our real master (or boss) is God, no matter whom we are serving humanly speaking.
Paul encouraged us, “Do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:23-24). When you trust God to reward you for your service to an earthly boss, your perspective on work will be transformed.
Knowing you are working for the Lord should affect…
- Your attitude toward authority. Regardless of how your supervisors treat you, you should respect them, obey them, and act righteously. (Of course, if they ask you to do something unethical, illegal, or immoral, you must instead follow what God teaches in His Word.)
- The quality of your service. If you knew Jesus was going to be at your office tomorrow morning, you would probably not show up late, groan about your assignments, or put off your workload. Instead of complaining, you would tackle your tasks energetically and with excellence. As servants of the living God, we need to strive to do our best on every assignment.
- Your motivation. We should never take a job without first confirming it is God’s perfect will for us at that time. When you are sure the Lord has called you to do a certain job, you will have an easier time doing it with all your heart. Think of your work as an opportunity to show your love for God. This will motivate you to do your best out of love for Him, rather than duty or the desire to get ahead.
As believers, we are called to serve the Most High God. So try to find opportunities in your everyday life to serve Him. You can serve Him as a mother or grandmother, raising children to love the Lord. You can serve as a sanitation worker or a restaurant employee. You can serve him as a CEO or president of a company. When we stand before Jesus one day, it will not matter if we impressed other people. What will matter is whether we did our tasks as unto the Lord. So, whatever He asks you to do, be obedient, serving Him in the power of the Holy Spirit.