Serving God is wonderful and satisfying if we do it for God and not man, and if we do it in God’s power and not our own. When we lose focus on God’s glory, service will be burdensome; and when we attempt to do it in our own power, it will be frustrating. Serving God in the Spirit is not punishment; it is nourishment. It gives me wings to fly, not chains to enslave.
Christian service happens when divine power confronts human need through grace-filled believers for the glory of God. This article is based on Jesus teaching in Luke 17:7-10 and it will survey ten principles for Christian service.
1. Serve Christ: in a spirit of faith that will result in an increase of faith.
The disciples asked, “Increase our faith,” and Jesus follows with this teaching on Christian duty. We may wonder, “What does this parable have to do with faith increasing?” Jesus shows us by connecting that request with the duty of life that faith increases not in large steps but in the daily demonstration of duty. Read your Bible. Attend prayer meeting and other regularly scheduled services of the church. Pray. Work hard. You can see God at work in your life, not in super extraordinary ways, but in the daily duty of life. By daily walking in the Spirit, your faith will grow. We cannot grow in faith if we do not do the basic tasks of life responsibly and consistently. Faith grows gradually like a small child: in small steps often imperceptible to the human eye.
2. Serve Christ: believe it is a high honor.
The servant in this story first worked outside in the sweaty field and then inside in the hot kitchen. After a long day in the field, the master says, “make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken.” The master in this story stands for Christ. I read it that Jesus is telling us, “Serve me.” What an absolute privilege!
Realize that all service to Christ is an undeserving honor. We serve the King of Kings! We must not be offended at anything commanded of us by Jesus Christ. Any service commanded by Him to us is a high honor and something that will strengthen my faith.
Whether you teach a Sunday School class, lead a small group, or distribute Gospel tracts, serving Jesus is a wonderful opportunity. Make sure in your heart that you do it “all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him” (Col. 3:17).
3. Serve Christ: without expectation of human reward.
Serve the Lord with gladness and wait for the reward until the end of the day. The servant in this parable serves and gets no words of thanks from his master. Why should he? He has only done what is expected and commanded of him.
The master in this story does not hold up his hands in wonder and shower thanks upon his faithful worker. He does not say, “How well my servant can plough, how cleverly he feeds the oxen.” The servant only does what he has been commanded, so the master does not think of lavishing praise upon him. Jesus applies this to those who serve Him as He says, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)
Matt Recker is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in New York City.