In our post Called To Work and in other posts, we’ve talked about how the word “ministry” has become synonymous with work done by or for the church. What does it mean to serve the church? Do we serve the church by volunteering in the programs of the church? Do you think God wants you to help out around the church as the primary way of living your faith? Is this your, “work of service”?
The answer to that last question is very personal. I tend to do one thing at a time. Because of the distance between church and work, I didn’t volunteer too much around the church. But for years, I begged God to let me go to work for a church. I wanted to hang out around Christians all the time. I wanted to work with people like my small group friends. Over and over again, I felt God say no. For over 30 years, what seemed best for me and my family was that I remain in a full-time secular job.
When you hear the word serve in a Christian context, or think of Christian service, do you picture volunteering at church? What about serving unfortunate people? How about going door to door or asking strangers on the street if they know Jesus?
Do you ever think of serving the people you see every day? At work, we’re around so many people who are part of how we make our living. Do we even see the person handing us food through the drive-thru window? What about the people who clean our offices?
Sometimes, I think we limit the meaning of “service” to whatever we’re trying to do. God makes service the central idea in everything we do as a Christ-follower. When we serve, we grow.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;Ephesians 4:11-12 NASB
Work of Service
The “work of service” is how God builds up the body. Many interpret this to mean the local church grows when people volunteer for all the different programs.
But I wonder if the body of Jesus grows in size, knowledge, and faith when we serve any fellow human being. The verse above says God gave some as the five leadership roles. God sends Apostles in authority. Prophets speak for God, Evangelists introduce others to God and teach us to do the same. Pastors and teachers teach us everything else about the spiritual life and help us grow as Christ-followers. All 5 of positions are designed to equip us to serve.
Those leadership roles call for servant leadership. Every other role is “the work of service.” When everyday Christ-followers serve others, we make faith visible. The Bible contains many instructions for how we serve others, but everything seems to begin with service.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,Mark 10:45a NASB
Build Up the Body
When you serve your coworkers, customers or vendors, because you follow Jesus, your faith becomes visible. You show the world you trust Jesus. Others who follow Jesus will be encouraged. And those who don’t follow Jesus may begin. Both outcomes build up the body.
Serving others builds up the body of Christ. You can serve others at church. Or you can serve others when you’re not at church. Either way, you build up the body of Christ.
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