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The Inconvenience of Serving God

We have our daily and weekly routines.  Work, Wednesday small group, family time, and Church on Sunday.  We often and easily forget that God does not work by our schedule.  Sometimes, God gives us an opportunity to serve him and glorify him at times that interfere with our daily or weekly routine.  How we respond to this reflects where our heart stands with God's Will and our ultimate desire to worship and serve him.


Recognize that God does not NEED our service.  Acts 17:25 explicitly reminds us of this.  Jesus himself declares that he does not need to be served (Mark 10:45).  We are not doing any favors to God for going out of our way to serve him.  Nor do we do God a favor by going to church or attending a weekly bible study.  It is God who supplies us the ability and opportunity to serve him! (1 Peter 4:11).  So, we must first strip the subconscious self-righteous mindset away from ourselves and recognize that he needs nothing.  He is not lacking in any glory.  In fact, he will be glorified no matter what we do or don't do.  Thus, faithfully and willfully serving God, is a manifestation of our own heart.

Routines of weekly habits of service is nice and establish healthy habits and constant positive influences.  Volunteer at your church of weekly at a local food bank is a good thing.  But serving God does not end once our volunteer shift is over.  God's will is continuous and eternal.  Jesus is the prime example.  He was constantly serving.  Not only did he attend all the weekly, monthly, and annual organized religious functions but he did more than that.  He served continuously outside of weekly, monthly, and annual organized religious functions.  He fed, healed, and preached in unorganized ways (but orderly as ordained by God).  When something needed to be said, he said it.  When something needed to be done, he did it.  When people were in need, he met that need.  In fact, more often, when Jesus obeyed the will of his Father, it was at seemingly inconvenient times.  Of course, to God, nothing is inconvenient; but from our worldly perspective it would have been. How does this translate to us now?

We may have just got out of Church and boom, someone that did not attend church is in need of help.  We may have had a family lunch planned after church, and this person who did not bother to attend church, needs our help at that moment.  This person may not even want to attend church or bible studies; it does not matter.  We may be having a nice family time, watching a movie or playing in the back yard with the kids when someone in need reaches out to us.  How do we asses the level of need and importance?

There are of number of quick questions we can ask: 

(1) Has this person heard the Gospel?
(2) Is there need manifested from a greater spiritual need?
(3) What would magnify the glory of God more?  Address the need later or immediately?
(4) Is this an opportunity to love and serve God and others?

Point #1: The gospel message is the most important and greatest message we can ever have the opportunity to tell someone.  Paul said it is of first importance (1 Cor. 15:3)!   Even when Paul couldn't meet a physical or material need, he made sure they heard the Gospel regardless (Acts 3:6).  The greater spiritual need can be seen by the fruit being manifested.

Point #2: Questions about Jesus' childhood, worship on Saturday or Sunday, or not celebrating Halloween is one thing (disputable matters, Romans 14:1-23); but questions about desiring getting divorce (not due to abuse), desire to use drugs, willing sexual desire of the same-sex or cheat on their spouse, desire to steal, and be greedy all come from the heart (Matthew 15:19).  And it is these manifested desires reveal a greater need;  If these individuals do not know the Lord, they are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3-5; Romans 1:28-32) under God's judgement, they NEED the freedom and healing only found in Christ.  They NEED a follower of Christ to love them by gently speaking the truth of God to them.  divorce, greed, theft, drugs, sexual immorality, are all symptoms of the greater problem (Matthew 10:28).  They risk the ultimate consequence of sin; eternal separation from God.  And THAT is an urgent need to address!  This may be their only and last opportunity to hear the truth of God and see God's grace and love shine through you.

Point #3:  Going out of your way for someone else has a far more meaningful effect than pushing it to the side, planning it later (when its more convenient), or pawning them off to someone else.  This helps people to see how important they actually are to you (and to God, once they understand).  This greater impact shines love and grace brighter.  It also elevates the importance of the truth you speak to them about.  Elevating truth, love, and grace to a higher (the highest) level of importance brings God glory.  It also shows within yourself, how you value serving God and how much you really feel about sin.  If you truly believe sin is the worst form of offense and those who live in sin are eternally offensive to Almighty God; this will manifest in the urgency to address it.

Point #4:  Godly LOVE, that glorifies God, is selfless and sacrificial (John 15:13).  Are you denying yourself to follow Christ (Luke 9:23)?  You must ask yourself what kind of love are you expressing to that individual and before God.  Does the love you show them out weight their love for their sin?  Their selfish love may be leading them to desire a divorce but your selfless sacrificial love quickly intervenes.  Their selfish love may be leading them to desire to hurt themselves or someone else, but your selfless sacrificial love quickly intervenes.  If we just simply desired to love selflessly, but we do not actually act on the importance of that love, our love is no more urgent or important that their love for their sin.  True Godly Love IS INCONVENIENT at times.  But we get over ourselves because we love God and others more than ourselves.

Unwillingness to Do What Is Right

If this person has heard the Gospel, presented personally by you or someone you know than they have heard the most important message.  But serving does not end their either.  James is pretty blunt when he said "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17).  When we are confronted with a actual need, and we know the right thing to do is help, but justify how busy we are with other things, we fail to do the right thing, we sin.  We must ask ourselves if this persons need may have a greater impact on the life of them and others around them.  If they follow through with their desire for a divorce (not in cases of abuse or sexual assault), that will have a longer lasting sinful impact on the loved ones around them.  That sin may then become more acceptable and more normal.  That person is already under God's judgement due to their unrepentant sinful desires, but we fail to do the right thing and address it, we too are then in sin. Proclaiming the Gospel and selflessly sacrificially loving those who are lost and in need is what is right.  Jesus even commands us to LOVE our enemies (Matthew 5:44)!  Keeping in mind that we all were once enemies of God (Romans 5:10), yet, he still selflessly and sacrificially loved us by going to the cross (Romans 5:8).  Now we are slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18) and under the Law of Life (Romans 8:2).  Do you feel the godly obligation to obey Christs commands to selflessly and sacrificially love?

Duty and Obligation to Serve

This is not legalistic.  The inherent sense of duty and obligation to obey derives from our faith; it does not justify us.  We are not scoring extra browney points with God when we go out of our way to serve him and others.  We do not gain extra favor from God.  We are just doing exactly what we are called to do.  We are being obedient to Christ and seeking God's eternal glory.  That is why we SHOULD and WILL desire to serve people when it is inconvenient.  The understanding of this duty and obligation comes with the maturity of our faith.  When looking at the fruit of the spirit we see the characteristics of a mature and maturing faith (Galatians 5:22-23).  We should SEEK to mature in faith (Hebrews 5:13-14), so that we can quickly and easily assess how urgent that need is and know the best ways to respond in faith.  If someone is reaching out because they are feeling like they are going to hurt themselves or someone else, failing to help them in that moment is sin.  Even pawning the request for help off to someone else is us failing to meet that need.  That person reached out to you, not someone else.  God is granting you an opportunity to serve and love him through this situation.  If we are far away, and can not physically meet a physical need, the Church is there to serve, just as you are.  If you reach out to the church for assistance to address in that persons urgent need; they should find the resources and personnel to assist.  If people in that church are not willing to address an urgent need; that is a discussion that needs to be had with the church leadership.  

How Do We Know If Someone Is A Believer or Not?

Do they openly claim to believe that Jesus is Lord God (John 1:12, 8:24, 58; Col. 2:9; Eph. 1:13; 1 Cor. 12:3; Romans 10:9)?  Do they seek to follow Christ and glorify God (1 John 2:4)?  Has God actually changed their life (John 3:3, 7; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Cor. 5:17)?  Because God will change lives, do they actually serve God in faith (James 2:18-20)?  Does their life produce spiritual fruit of obedience (Matthew 7:15–21; Romans 8:14).  Why does this matter?

Accountability

If people are not believers, they are slaves to sin, and thus, we can only expect them to have sinful desires.  But, if someone claims to be Christian and follower of Christ Jesus as Lord God and Savior; they are expected to serve God and others.  They are expected to be repentant of their sin and seek holiness.  When they are unrepentant and sinful, we are to humbly rebuke and correct them so that they repent and spiritually mature. But this is reserved for only those IN the church (1 Cor. 5:12-13).  Jesus even prescribes disciplinary measures to ensure the church seeks holiness (Matthew 18:15-17).  Paul declares that all scripture is profitable for "teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16).  Paul even had to rebuke Peter publicly and sharply (Galatians 2:11; Titus 1:13).  Thus, we need to hold all those in the church accountable for not selflessly and sacrificially loving and helping those in need, even when it is inconvenient.  Jesus was the most harsh with those who were very religious but fruitless.  God disciplines those who he loves, his children (Hebrews 12:6).  A church is least effective when they are not assisting those in need and no one is held accountable for the lack of love. 

Our Time and Possessions

We need to understand that all our time and possession are not ours!  Literally, EVERYTHING belongs to God (Hebrews 2:10).  Even our bodies are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19)!  Therefore, with everything, we must LOVE God with all our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbors (in the church and outside the church, even our enemies)(Matthew 22:37-39).  The same Godly love that is selfless and sacrificial. 

One of the primary missions of the church is the reach those in need and lost.  And if it is lacking love, it is failing to be obedient to Christ Jesus and is less fruitful.  If it is actively loving those in need and seeking the lost, God is most glorified and the Holy Spirit works through it!  This, at times, maybe all the time, is inconvenient in our daily and weekly routines, but are to we seek God's glory and his will, not ours- all the time, even when it is inconvenient.


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