Called To Serve
Sometimes our conversations lead to misunderstandings. We hear our brothers and sisters in Christ saying things like “God has called me” or “God told me” or “God led me.” Those experiences are real and special and meaningful and I do not wish to belittle them in any way. Indeed, many times in my Christian life I too have felt the leading of the Lord and experienced Him leading my actions and words as I shared His love and truth.
Sometimes though, as we hear our fellow believers sharing these experiences, we come to some erroneous conclusions. One of our greatest errors? If I do not feel called to serve or go, I need not go, I need not serve.
Scripture speaks often of obedience to the will and plan of God. We are told to follow and obey time and again. Thus, the Christian must believe in seeking and following the will of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 127:1 reminds us of the dangers in pursuing earthly plans without the leading and empowerment of God: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
Thus, we must be prayerful in all things. As we seek to discover where God is leading us in our lives and ministry, we must seek to continually function under His Lordship and not our own. Let us be reminded, though, that in many cases we need not wait for special instruction in the form of a supernatural sign or feeling. Our Father has preserved for us the gift of His Word and it is living and active. We must pray and seek God’s will, but as we do, let us be reminded that every sense of His leading, if indeed it is from God, will coincide with what He has already revealed in His word. If it does not, then it is not from God.
God’s word corrects the error mentioned above. God has spoken and continually speaks to His children through His written Word. If His word says “go” then we are called to go. We do not need to wait for a feeling of confirmation from the Holy Spirit to know that we are personally called to go share the gospel or serve or love. He has already said that we are.
So, is service only for those who are called? Yes! But, every one of us who are in Christ have been called to serve. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)). “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13 (ESV)).
We are all called to serve. We are all called to go regardless of feeling. But what do we do in the absence of those feelings? If we do not feel a sense of calling toward any one area of service, how do we know where to serve? “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:44-47 (ESV)).
We serve where there is a need.
This is not to say that every Christian is suited to every ministry or meeting every need. We are part of the body of Christ and we have different gifts designed to be used to meet different needs. But what if there is no one specifically suited or called to meet the need we see? Does that mean we allow the need to go unmet?
Absolutely not. In Matthew 25 our God calls us to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, welcome the stranger, provide for the needy, care for the sick and visit the prisoner. It is not accidental that just prior to that message Jesus shares the parable of the talents, where we see the master rewarding those who use the rich resources he gives them and punishing the one who hides the limited resources the master gives.
It does not matter how ill prepared we feel. It does not matter how limited we feel in our personal strength or resources. Calling is not dependent on feeling. Calling is not dependent on resources. If we are in Christ, we are called to serve. If we are in Christ, we are called to love in word and in deed. It does not matter how gifted by God or called by God we feel. If we are obedient to meet the need, God himself will provide! If He desires someone with a specific gifting and calling to serve, He will bring them. Until then, regardless of the need, regardless of the felt gift, He calls His people to serve. As Pastor Jon has recently reminded us, Christ Himself is our example and He is our means of following His example. The One who meets our greatest need, the One who came to us in our need, is alive in us and living and loving through us.
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them (John 13:14-17 (ESV)).
The church we will be blessed if we serve! This is our Lord’s promise to us! As we step back from hesitancy and doubt and step forward in obedience, then we will be blessed with the most amazing gift God has given and continually gives—His Presence.
Pastor Brian Torres
“If you’re waiting for the clouds to part and God to give you a direct revelation of what to do…it’s already happened. Feed the poor, visit the sick, fill a need. God can use you, and wants to use you even if he doesn’t write it in the sky.” — Dawn TorresApril 9, 2017