Until this year I’ve spent my entire adult life on church staffs. A struggle faced in every church I’ve been on is motivating people to serve. I’ve witnessed the frustration of children’s directors who receive ten no’s in a row for Sunday School positions, and I’ve jumped into action as a Sunday School teacher, nursery volunteer, usher, greeter, cook, and parking attendant when someone failed to show. I can’t even imagine what percent of leadership meetings I’ve been in dealing with the struggle to find volunteers. I grew VERY frustrated with people who always seemed to say no to service opportunities. Yet, now that I’m not on a church staff, I see where people are coming from when they turn down opportunities. When I’m now asked to give up MY time to church I am filled with all sorts of excuses: I need family time, I need free time, my job is stressful enough, I don’t want to get involved in “church politics,” and so on.
This has led me to really reflect on why it is we serve, which is something I feel we all need to think about. This is not to say we always have to say yes (indeed, sometimes no is the correct answer), but it is to say we need to understand why we serve and when and why we do need to say YES. Here is what Paul says to Titus about why he has chosen to serve:
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his Word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior. Titus 1:1-3
Let’s look at three practical things Paul tells us here about why we are to serve:
To make Others Better: First, Paul says that he is a servant for the sake of God’s people (the elect). Paul understood that God desires all of us to be making other people better. Then can range from teaching and mentoring them to simply offer them prayer and encouragement. Are you regularly serving by making others better, or do you need to search out new opportunities?
To spread the Good News: Paul talks about sharing the hope of eternal life. Do you ever reflect on what you are doing in your life so help spread the Good News? ALL of us have a role to play in sharing the hope of eternal life. The key is to figure out what are role is and to say YES to it.
Because we’ve been entrusted and commanded: Not only has God commanded us to serve, but he has entrusted us with both the ability to serve and His faith in our ability. If God has entrusted and commanded us to serve Him, who are we to say no?