Another Day 15 Service With Love
1 Peter 4:10-11
I said I would never serve in middle school. It just wasn’t “my thing”. So how do I explain I now arrive early to church to set up the TV, queue the lesson, put out games, and choose a worship song in preparation for middle schoolers? Did I mention I raised two daughters, but I teach mostly boys in “Mid City” as we call our church’s middle school ministry?
Why am I here?
Because middle schoolers need love and care too, especially from their church family. Also, God told me to serve them. Want to know a secret? I was wrong before. It is “my thing”.
My thing is serving the Lord who created me and prepared good works for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10) Those good works serve God’s kingdom and others. God designed it to work this way because His heart is for others, for us. And our hearts should be too.
Jesus taught about this in Matthew 25:31-46 when He told the story of sheep and goats at the Final Judgment. Sheep represented people who trusted Christ to pay the penalty they deserved for their own sin; then they lived out their faith by loving others. Goats, while fooling themselves and others by making themselves look like sheep, actually never trusted Christ and therefore couldn’t love people with His divine power living inside them.
To the sheep Jesus said, “You fed me, you gave me something to drink, you took me in, you clothed me, you took care of me and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, my paraphrase)
To the goats he said, “You never fed me or gave me drink, never took me in, clothed me or took care of me.” (Matthew 25:42-43, my paraphrase) Both groups asked when they did or did not do these things. He responded that their actions, or lack thereof, evidenced their willingness to love Him. Jesus rewarded the sheep and eternally punished the goats.
This girl wants to be a sheep.
Since you’re reading this, I think you do too.
What about being a shiny sheep?
Jesus taught, “You [true believer in Jesus!) are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) Because “light carrying” is so important, He instructed, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Be a shiny sheep,
showing them Jesus and
giving Him glory?
Remember the goats? We can fool ourselves and others, but we cannot fool God. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold some land and donated part of the money to the apostles. (Acts 5:1-11) Seems good, right?
After Jesus’ resurrection and return to heaven, the believers all lived together, sharing everything, not because anyone was forcing them, but out of love. “Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common” (Acts 4:32)
Ananias and Sapphira lied, claiming their donation was the total profit from the sale. Through the Spirit of God, Peter confronted them, “You have not lied to people but to God.” (Acts 5:4) God desires us to serve from holy hearts. (1 Peter 1:15) If we aren’t intent on loving Jesus, we will be tempted to be unscrupulous. How does this rightly reflect God? It doesn’t bring Him glory or benefit others.
Consider Eli’s sons. (1 Samuel 2:12-36) They were priests yet committed many sinful acts. They ate sacrifices meant for the Lord and sometimes forcibly took sacrifices before they could be offered. They were serving, but with evil intent. Eventually, God took their lives because of it; they were goats.
Compare that to Samuel, who “served in the Lord’s presence—this mere boy was dressed in the linen ephod.” (1 Samuel 2:18) Samuel served Eli faithfully and later became a great prophet for the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:19 tells us, “Samuel grew. The Lord was with him, and he fulfilled everything Samuel prophesied.” May we follow Samuel’s example of being a sheep.
Christ loves us perfectly. (1 John 3:16) While we can’t love perfectly, we can reflect His love because His Spirit lives inside believers, divinely empowering us.
How do we love like Him? Before we serve, let’s consider four key questions.
- If there was no visible payoff like money, recognition, gratitude, or influence, am I still willing? (Philippians 3:8-10)
- If suffering is involved in serving, am I still willing? (2 Corinthians 12:6-10)
- Is my goal to feel good about myself or receive praise from others? (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Is loving God and others my motivation? (Matthew 22:37-39)
Answer with sincerity.
If your motives and intentions are true, pure and oriented toward the Lord, then serve.
If not, ask the Lord to change your heart.
Remember, Jesus knows the difference between sheep and goats. His true sheep are meant to serve with each of these qualities, but if we haven’t asked Him to make us new and remove our sin, we just can’t be sheep.
Opportunities to serve, to love like Jesus, are abundant!
Maybe you’ll wind up doing something you thought wasn’t “your thing”,
but is most definitely God’s thing for you!
Another Day 15
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