Pastoral Perspectives

Serve God!

I am reminded from 1 John 4:19 that “we love because He (our Lord Jesus) first loved us.” Similarly, we serve because He first served us. This was how our Lord Jesus mentioned about the purpose of His coming in Mark 10:45 which states, “For even the Son of Man (our Lord Jesus) came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” This inspires me to serve God in penning out this pastoral perspective.

When you come across this word, “service”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? To me, I would immediately think of “sacrifice”. A service rendered is a sacrifice made. Every form of service requires a certain amount of sacrifice, even writing a pastoral perspective. You forgo something in order to give something. Time and effort are required in rendering service to others. To do a good service to others requires discipline, determination, discernment and delight. In order to serve others, you must be willing to learn the arts of service and lean on the author of service. You must also be willing to have the right attitudes of service. Service to others is never an easy thing to do. You would need to go for training to equip yourself for service to the King and to His people. Service requires humility, insight and joy. Without these qualities, your service would be a drag and a burden. You need to know whom you are serving and why you are serving lest you get yourself suffering from burnout!

My motivation for service comes from my love for my Lord Jesus. He is the One who has called me into full-time service. I have learnt and still am learning from Colossians 3:23-24 that whatever I do, I will work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, and I will serve the Lord Jesus. Yes, I know whom I am serving. I am serving a gracious and glorious God. Yes, I know why I am serving. I am serving because Christ Jesus first served me. My purpose of serving Christ is out of my gratitude to Him for His immense love which He has graciously shown to me. I do not deserve His love yet He lovingly reaches out to me and is patiently guiding me in my service offered wholeheartedly to Him.

Whenever I serve God, I am also reminded that I need to be single-minded in my service to Him. I cannot serve God and mammon. I cannot be distracted and then, lose my focus. I need to give my undivided service to my King and Lord. It is not the kind of half-hearted service which the Lord would desire of His children. My service needs to be sincere and truthful. It is always good to take stocks of our service to the Lord. Ask ourselves frankly and often with these recommended questions: “What kind of service am I rendering?  Am I serving with a glad and grateful heart? Do I know who I am serving? Am I serving Christ or the community or the common people? Am I serving with my own strength or with the strength which Christ Jesus supplies? What do I understand about service? How do I go about doing service to others? Am I exercising my spiritual gift of service when I serve God and His people?” Serve God with reverence! Serve God with joy and gladness! This reminds me of a Bible verse which I have learnt: “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” (Psalm 100:2) Serve God with fear and trembling! This reminds me of another Bible verse which teaches me the attitude which I should have in rendering service: “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalm 2:11). Another encouragement for service comes from this Bible verse that Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26). Indeed, it is a joy and a privilege to serve God. It is also an honour to serve Him.

Whenever we serve others, we are also serving God. This is reflected in the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:31-46. Our service to others is an outflow of our gratitude to God for our salvation in and through Christ Jesus our Lord. I am learning and am still learning to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling and with a certain realisation that God is the One who works in and through me for His goodness and His glory as what the apostle Paul has taught me in Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Let us “offer right sacrifices, and put our trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 4:5).  When we seek the Lord as to where we should serve Him, He will reveal to us according to the spiritual gifts which He has bestowed upon us. When we serve Him with the right attitudes and in the right areas of service, our hearts will be glad and God will be pleased with our service too. Let us also “render to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). When we focus on the things of God in the rendering of our wholeheartedly service to Him, we are confident that we will see fruits in what we are doing for Him. Let us be faithful in our service to God, relying upon the strength which He has always provided for us, never losing our focus on Him and trusting in His great faithfulness to see us through every hurdle and hardship which comes our way in our service for and to Him.

Preacher George Ang

July 26, 2020