Many born-again Christians have a difficult time determining how they can serve the Lord. This is especially true with those that are new to the faith. Before we examine this subject, let’s remind ourselves of our Lord’s commandment as to what He wants us to do after we have accepted Him as our Savior.
[Jesus said,] “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Amen.
The above Scripture is commonly referred to as the Great Commission and is also found in Mark 16:15. It is important to notice that Jesus told us what to do but He didn’t specifically tells us how to do it. This is because He wants each and every one of us to use our personal specific talents that He has given us to get the job done.
Too many people are stuck in the rut thinking that they must attend seminary school to be qualified to serve the Lord, and go out and make disciples. While seminary school may have its benefits, it really isn’t a qualification that the Lord commanded for His disciples to be able to serve Him. In fact, once we have become born-again Christians, we have then immediately become His servants and the Lord isn’t looking for people that are qualified, He is looking to qualify people that are willing!
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9a).
The willingness to serve the Lord is driven by a newfound desire to seek the things that please the Lord rather than living our lives with the desire to please ourselves.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
The above passage is often used out of context as a prosperity message disregarding the first line about “delighting yourself in the Lord.” When we become born-again Christians we become delighted with the Lord’s precepts and replace our own plans for our lives with His plans for our lives. This in turn relieves us of the pressure of meeting our own goals by our own power and places our objective in serving the Lord by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There are many people that proclaim to be Christian yet they are still offended by many of the Lord’s precepts. For these folks, serving the Lord becomes very difficult because they have not allowed the Lord to mold them into who He wants them to be and have instead created their own personal stumbling blocks.
A prime example of this that has become all too prevalent in our world today is the large amount of homosexual church leaders that have sprung up trying to defend their sinful lifestyles while attempting to be serving the Lord at the same time. Not only are they misleading others but they have completely ignored the fact that homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). These folks are doing far more damage than good and have not delighted themselves in the desires of the Lord—but rather their own desires.
This scenario is being repeated throughout the church with many other sins as well. This does not mean that we can’t serve the Lord being sinners, as we are all still sinners even after we are saved. However, it does mean that we should never be complacent with our sins to the point that we make it seem like God is okay with it, and suddenly we find ourselves encouraging others to sin rather than be washed from sin by the blood of Christ.
If we are struggling with sin, rather than compromising in sin, then we can still be an effective tool for serving the Lord. Struggling with sin is actually a good thing and we should all have
the attitude expressed by Paul in Romans chapter seven. Throughout that chapter Paul is clearly struggling with still being a sinner, however his heart remains immersed in the desires of the Lord, (v. 22).
The Lord is compassionate toward our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15) and will always work with someone that has a humble and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 illustrates how the Lord will work with and use sinful people to accomplish His good will. The common denominator among the patriarchs mentioned in that chapter is faith! Faith is the bond between saved sinners and our holy Lord, for without faith it is impossible to please the Lord (Hebrews 11:6).
There are many Christians that dwell on the opposite end of the spectrum of sin compromise, and feel as though they are not worthy to serve the Lord because of their sinfulness. They become paralyzed thinking that the Lord is always angry at them and they live in shame and fear. However, the Lord Jesus Christ removed our shame of sin when He paid our debt and if we confess our sin daily to the Lord then He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
This was the entire concept of Jesus washing the “feet” of the apostles. The apostles were already “clean” (minus Judas), by their faith but they needed their feet washed so that their “walk” with the Lord would be pure. In other words, they needed the Lord’s cleansing on a daily basis in order to serve Him properly. They couldn’t wash their own feet.
The Lord wants to be involved in our service for Him. Our loving Father doesn’t just bark out demands and keep a tally of how well we execute His orders. No, our Lord works with us via the Holy Spirit and He even equips us with the tools (talents) we need to do His will.
This brings us to our next dilemma that often prevents Christians from serving the Lord effectively; and that is not knowing what or how to personally serve the Lord. Far too many Christians spend too much time waiting for a “sign” from the Lord as to what they think He may want them to do—when in reality most people can use what they’ve been doing even before they got saved as their way of serving the Lord. Only now, it is done unto Him!
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Notice that that passage starts off saying “whatever you do.” Are you an auto mechanic? Perhaps there is an elderly woman on your street having car problems that you could give a free helping hand to? Are you a doctor or a nurse? Perhaps there are sickly people in your circle of friends and family you could help out. Are you an artist? Perhaps you could create artwork that honors the Lord and portrays the Truth of His Word. Do you see where I’m going with this?
It doesn’t have to be your profession either. Are you a people person? Perhaps there is someone at your church or someone you know who is lonely, depressed or grieving that you could give an ear to and some encouragement. Do you have a heart for the poor and homeless? There are plenty of homeless shelters that could use volunteers; plenty of poor people in the world that need help! If you are financially blessed then you could find a reputable source for donating to the needy.
All of this is serving the Lord! In fact, the second greatest commandment given by our Lord Jesus Christ was, “love your neighbor as yourself”(Matthew 22:39).
The first greatest commandment of course is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
The parallel passage from Luke 10:27-38 includes the story of the “Good Samaritan” and makes it clear that our neighbor isn’t just the person that lives next door.
Notice that we must first love the Lord with all our hearts before we can be rewarded for loving our neighbor. Again, this is because the Lord wants to be involved in our service. There are many kind-hearted atheists out there that have good intentions and do good service toward others but the one thing missing is the presence of Christ shining through them in their service.
As long as anyone is living in rebellion against God, there is nothing they do on earth that will bring them eternal rewards. But we do not serve the Lord simply for the rewards either. We serve the Lord because of the newness of life that we have been given (Romans 6:4), and our desire to that His will be done.
There are many Christians that will not see rewards they thought they were getting and there are many Christians that will get rewards they never thought they earned. For those that are humbly submitted to the Lord on a daily basis, they fall into the second category. When we are living a life completely devoted to the Lord we aren’t even thinking about rewards.
Does a soldier on the battlefield think about the medals of honor he may be getting while in battle? No, he is too busy fighting the enemy and caring for his brothers. This is the same for the Christian soldier. If we are truly busy serving the Lord and fighting the good fight then rewards aren’t even a thought.
There is one service for the Lord that is very often neglected and not even thought of as a “service” and that is prayer. There are those that aren’t able to physically serve the Lord due to physical handicaps, poverty, age or whatever it may be. For those people, prayer is not only an option but a very powerful and effective form of service. It has been said that faith may move mountains but prayer moves the hand of God.
Many may ask how is prayer a form of service since most people consider prayer only a personal experience between them and the Lord. While this is true, there is also intercessory prayer (praying for others), and that is found all throughout the Bible. One of the most dedicated examples of someone using prayer as a service can be found in the person of Anna the prophetess, in Luke 2:36-38.
The Scriptures tell us that she had been widowed for 84 years and did not depart from the temple the entire time, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day, (v. 37). Now that is what I call a prayer warrior!
Serving the Lord doesn’t start with our hands or even our minds. It starts with our hearts. When our hearts are aligned with the Lord we almost can’t help but serve Him. It comes as natural as loving and serving a spouse. Perhaps that is why the church is the bride of Christ. A bride serves her husband and a groom serves his bride.
To think that Christ Jesus in all His glory and majesty is willing to work with us through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit—to help us serve Him so that we may receive rewards even after He has already willingly died for our sins, is the greatest example of love and grace that has ever been seen in all of history. And it will never be trumped. Is it any wonder why the saints will cast their crowns at His feet when we are gathered together at the Throne? He did it all and He deserves it all!