Over lunch a few weeks ago, my ex-colleague was lamenting about the “young ones” who are entering the legal profession these days – “They just don’t make them like they used to anymore”, he said. His grouses were plenty – “it seems like I work for them, not the other way around”; “happy do, not happy don’t do”.
While doing my devotion on the topic of authentic service, the Lord revealed to me that my posture and attitude towards service was oftentimes no different from those “young ones”. The Lord showed me the many times when I felt an entitlement to have an easy time at work in the days leading up to a weekend that I was rostered to serve. Or when I felt frustrated that I was ill in the week that I had to serve.
The Lord revealed to me that ever so often, my service was more about me, and less about Him – I expected to serve on my terms, not on His and I often forget He is Master, and I am His servant.
I learnt several things about how to engage in authentic service.
Look to Jesus Christ
First, we can do no better than to look to Christ, the Greatest Servant. Jesus “came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He served with unique humility and submitted His life to sacrificial service under the will of the Father. He willingly laid down His life for us on the cross. He served because of His deep love for the Father and us.
Even though He was God, He chose to come to earth fully human. He recognized the need to do as he did to fulfill our need. We are told, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy… the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:14-15)
It is our duty to serve
I never thought that I expected anything in return for serving God. But God revealed to me that such expectation often occurs in subtle forms. When I felt that I should have an easy week at work to prepare to lead worship, I was expecting something in return. Whenever I felt frustrated about being ill when I had to serve, I was expecting to be blessed with health. Expectations can come in many forms – God’s protection, God’s revelation, salvation for a loved one, and even man’s appreciation.
But such expectation should not be found in a servant’s mindset. Indeed, we often expect a return for our service because we forget that we are servants, and He is Master. We would do well to constantly remind ourselves that it is our duty to serve. Luke 17:10 is instructive.
“So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘ We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
We are called to be faithful in service
Faithful service is a simple enough concept – being constant in the performance of duty. Living out this concept is far from straightforward. If we are faithful in service, we do not give in or give up.
The discipline of service calls us to serve when circumstances might make it inconvenient to do so, and even when we feel like quitting. The discipline of service requires us to serve “in spite of…”, and to serve to the end. John 13:1 says, “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” Jesus loved us till the end even though He was heavily burdened by the road to the cross.
He loved us to the end, in spite of immense physical, mental and spiritual anguish. Because He stayed the course, the curse of sin was broken and every one of us has the chance of eternal life with the Father. When Jesus cried, “It is finished”, He left no unfinished business behind.
Likewise, let us be found faithful to the end. When we feel like quitting, let us recall Jesus’ example of service that took Him to the cross. Let us also look forward to that glorious day in heaven, when our Lord Jesus will embrace us and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” – the Summa Cum Laude of compliments from our Lord Jesus Himself.
By Shem Khoo, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 11&12 July 2015)