10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
As we come to the last devotional in our 30 days of serving we must remember that we are all going to be involved in serving someone or something. The question we need to ask is will we be free to serve or bound to serve? Jesus came to free us in every way including in the area of serving, we were saved to serve in freedom. The reality is that real service starts with a real relationship, it is out of a realization of what Jesus has done for me that I respond with loving service. The motivation for Christian service has to start with our salvation experience in Jesus Christ. The gift of salvation is to experience His grace and love through a personal ongoing relationship and it is out of this relationship with God that we are called to serve. Unfortunately many of us have a huge disconnect between a saving relationship and serving relationship. Verse 11 says we are to serve with all the strength and energy that God supplies, which we can only do if we are connected to Him. We serve not only because of a relationship with Jesus but through and out of a relationship with Jesus. When there is a disconnect in our relationship with Jesus, the source of our serving, then there is a disconnect in our serving. We may continue to serve on the outside but the heart motivation begins to die on the inside. Have you ever served out of “have to” instead of “get to”? Have you ever just gone through the motions of serving? Serving requires energy and serving apart from the Savior means doing it in your own strength which is always limited so it will run out and we will run on empty. Often we try to serve apart from our relationship with Jesus and sometimes we serve to try to impress Him or to seek His favor for our benefit instead of as a response to God’s love for the benefit of others. Sometimes it is easier to be saved by grace than to live by grace, but if you remove God’s grace service becomes just a duty that wears down instead of building up. Sometimes we buy into the lie that God will love us more if we serve more, so we become trapped in serving to get. We become slaves to performance based service, instead of serving in freedom which brings life we become trapped in the performance prison of service that kills. What motivates you to serve? What keeps you going in a life of service? Are you full or are you running on empty? Are you free to serve, is it bringing you life or is it killing you? So are you serving because serving means getting in the game? Getting in the game involves:
- Being on the team.
In all team sports our place on the team is determined by our ability and talent but when it comes to being on God’s team none of us make the cut. All of us have sinned and our sin has separated us from God. We are not good enough and will never be good enough but Jesus was and through the death of Jesus and His blood He has made a way for us to be forgiven. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus we can be on God’s team. Whose team are you on?
- Being on the field
What would happen if part of the team dressed out, putting on their gear and then went and sat in the stands to watch the game and cheer on their teammates? God reminds us here about a simple truth many of us have forgotten: Players belong on the field! We were not designed to be spectators, but participators! If you are on the team, then it’s time to get on the field and contribute, to share what God has given you. Verse 10 reminds us of the many and varying gifts, “his great variety of spiritual gifts” Your gift is both different than mine and needed, because a team needs more than a quarterback or a striker. We all have different gifts, a kicker can’t do what the linebacker can, and when we bring them together on the field we are a team. How will you use your gift from God to serve others? People need:
Friends, Encouragement, Hugs, Help, Love, Smiles, High Fives, Affirmation, Care, Food, Warmth, Relationships, Conversations, Money, Work, Family, Protection, God’s Word, Advice, Security, Leadership, Forgiveness, Jesus What will you do on the team? Is your gift in the stands or on the field?
- Being in the Zone
Being “in the zone” means being in a state of total concentration, it means not just being on the field but being focused on the game. There are many distractions on the field; there will always be the spectators and their loud opinions on how you are playing the game. There is always the other team that makes us feel like we are losing but let me just remind you we win, nothing trumps the cross. So how do you get in the zone? By focusing on who you are doing it for, it’s all for the Glory of God. He saved me so I could not only be on the winning team, but so that I could participate on the field using His gifts to serve others so that people would see God. The greatest question we can ask in serving is, “Am I serving people in a way that connects them to the Savior?”