Commercials are one of my least favorite things on the planet. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a serious scene on cable (or, let’s be honest: Hulu) and it cutting to a guy selling you plates made out of pepperoni. Like – what?!
Sure, pepperoni plates are edible and reduce your carbon footprint because they reduce the amount of water you’d use to clean dishes or the amount of paper you’d throw away if it were a trash-able plate. All of that information is good, but it’s distracting to what I’m actually here to watch. Halfway through network commercials I’ve already forgotten what I was watching in the first place! How are you supposed to emotionally reconnect with a show after pepperoni plates?!
If we take that same scenario and place it within the boundaries of church – what do you think it would look like?
Let’s say you’re an avid volunteer. You’re early when you’re on the schedule, you’re in your position and checked in, and you’re even smiling and caffeinated already! You are the embodiment of the ideal volunteer – even if you only do half of those things.
But what if that was all you did? Serving is GREAT, don’t get me wrong! But that is not all that we’re called to do.
Joshua 22:5 says:
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience with him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Even though this scripture is taken from a conversation that Joshua was having with the eastern tribes of Israel, it is absolutely applicable to how believers should act today. Why?
Because if God never changes, putting him as our priority shouldn’t change either.
How many times have you been so exhausted from your week and felt like you had nothing to give? How many times have you carried on a hollow conversation with another believer about your relationship with God, but you actually haven’t dusted off your Bible or been to a service in ages? What about the number of posts you’ve scrolled past on Pinterest or Facebook with verses or Christian song lyrics and you read it with tired eyes and a numb heart? Yeah, me too.
When the Word of God becomes common to us, it will not have an impact on our lives.
Here’s the ironic part: you cannot give anything back if you don’t fill the tank first. Are your kids going to get to gymnastics, soccer, Scouts, or dance if you don’t have gas in your car?? NO! So why do we think that we can get places without filling our spiritual tank first?
It’s easy to get information, but it’s difficult to get truth.
Like commercials, serving can actually be very distracting and hurtful if you don’t do it with the right heart. Churches and their leaders have a bad rap of using the phrase “servant’s heart” and not following through with an explanation of what that looks like.
When you serve out of obligation, guilt, exhaustion, or “because it’s the right thing to do,” you’re actually not giving your best. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, whether in work or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In short, if you wouldn’t serve Jesus like that, don’t serve His people like that either.
So, how do we avoid it? How do we serve the church the right way?
If you’re spending the time getting up early on a Sunday morning in order to hold a door, lead a small group, teach in a classroom, or help a guest find a seat, you can stay for one more hour to hear the message that God put on the pastor’s heart. Think of how much more effective the church could be if we understand that our words and actions speak a louder sermon than our actual service ever will. That doesn’t discount the words of the speaker – it shows that people watch people more than they listen to people.
And if people are already watching us, why not get it right?