Out of Service

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

One day as I was driving with a pastor friend of mine, we saw a city bus pass by in the opposite direction.  Rather than displaying the usual route information, this bus simply had the words “Out of Service” on its digital display. “There’s a sermon illustration,” he commented. 

Too many Christians are just like that bus. Although they appear in perfect working order, they aren’t doing anything to further God’s kingdom. They’ve become so busy and focused on the things of this world that they have forgotten the purpose God created and saved them for. 

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul explained to the church: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” When God saves us by His amazing grace, cleansing us through Christ’s blood, and putting His own Spirit in us, He also gives us the incredible privilege of becoming His fellow workers. 

In this age of “Consumer Christianity,” the focus for so many has become: “What can the church do for me?  What do I get out of the services? Are my needs being met?”  Instead, God wants us to ask: “Lord, how can I serve You and Your Church? How do You want to use my gifts and talents to further Your Kingdom?  How can I best display Your love and demonstrate Your truth to the people You have put in my life?”

“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27). In God’s perfect plan, each child of God becomes an integral member Christ’s Body, and each member has a unique and specific purpose, vital to fulfilling Christ’s mission.  “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Corinthians 12:18). God created you the way you are, with the gifts and talents that you have, to fulfill His plan. He has placed you where you are, interacting with the people that you do, for this same reason: to bear fruit for Christ’s glory. 

The wonderful truth is that we don’t need to be super ingenious or creative to come up with ways to serve as Christ’s fellow workers. As Ephesians 2:10 explains, God has already prepared good works for us to fulfill beforehand.  If we want to be used for His glory, we can ask God to clearly show us opportunities, surrender fully to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and be ready to give our best when those times come. 

Who knows what God has planned for you? Start asking Him today, and those opportunities to serve will be there! Maybe they won’t always come in the way we expect, or would choose, but that is a prayer God will certainly answer in His perfect way. What a joy and privilege it is when by God’s grace we can serve in a way that will have eternal value!

The truth is, our opportunities to bear fruit for God’s kingdom are limited, and the short time we have on this earth is running out. As one pastor put it, “What on Earth are you doing for Heaven’s sake?”  Let’s be faithful, “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  What greater joy could there be than to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Lord” on that day when we come face to face with our Savior?

Ryan Henkelmann

Chilliwack, BC

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