“I would hope that the Christian businessman or woman, whether lowest on the corporate totem pole or the chief executive officer, would be distinguished from the rest not only by conscientious work but also by graciousness, by simple kindness, by an unassuming manliness or modest womanliness, and above all by a readiness to serve…even if that means serving coffee instead of serving on the committee you were itching to join.”
-Elisabeth Elliot, On Asking God Why
Nowadays, our churches offer so many options. There are so many classes from which to choose. If you don’t like one, you can change your mind and find another one. Whatever works for you is what you do!
While options can be a good thing, sometimes I think Christians can fall into the trap of only doing what they want to do. This can play a part in areas of service as well. Sure, we will serve at church, but only where we want to serve.
The Bible talks about how each believer has been given a spiritual gift.
1 Peter says: “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”
He gave us these gifts so that we can serve each other. But, sometimes it’s seems as if we use our spiritual gifts as a license not to serve. For example, let’s say person A has the gift of “administration.” They might use the excuse that “it’s not their job to serve coffee at church because they should be used to do another task...a task they deem as more important.” But, the fact of the matter is: person A just does not want to serve coffee. God could, in fact, use someone with the gift of administration to serve coffee, as He could use another person with any other gift. He didn't give us our spiritual gifts so that we could pick and choose what jobs we want to do with them. He gave us our spiritual gifts so that we could better serve one another in whatever jobs are needed to be done. So, in whatever job we are doing, we can use our spiritual gift to serve each other. Our gifts are not given to us to give us a way out, but to help us serve more effectively.
Sure, there are going to be jobs that some people are just more drawn to do. Some people may love hosting events and playing a behind-the-scenes kind of a role while other people enjoy teaching Biblical truths to others. When we are able to work in an environment that we love, it can be a lot of fun. But, what about those jobs that aren’t so fun? Does that mean we are “off the hook” just because we don’t want to do them? Does Christ give us permission to say, “Sorry, that’s not my spiritual gift!”?
We should continually be challenging ourselves to step out of our comfort zones and do things that we might not necessarily choose to do on our own. The Bible commands us to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28). Just because we do not have the spiritual gift of “evangelism” does not mean that this command does not apply to us and that we are off the hook from sharing the love of Christ with others.
Romans says: “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Notice this verse does not say, “practice hospitality if this is your spiritual gift.” We should practice hospitality even if this is not the gift that comes as naturally to us as it does for someone who has that spiritual gift. If we do not have the gift of hospitality, we have even more of a reason to practice showing it because it helps us become more like Christ by doing that which does not come naturally.
Scripture is clear that we are to represent Christ in all that we do and that we are to renew our minds and clothe ourselves with love as we seek ways to serve those around us. By choosing only the jobs that we want to do, are we really having a servant’s heart, or are we serving ourselves? Is it in love that we selfishly do only the jobs that we want to do when there are other jobs where people are desperately needed? May we take time to examine our hearts the next time we are asked to do a job that is not favorable. And, may we allow God to use our spiritual gifts in any and every task instead of choosing only the tasks we want to do.
Colossians 3:10-17 says: “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (emphasis added)
Matthew 20:26-28 says: “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(emphasis added)
Romans 12:9-13 says: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”(emphasis added)