It has long been said that 20% of the people do 80% of the work in a church.  While I would like to believe that this is wrong, it continuously plays out this way in most churches. This raises the question, “Do I really have to serve in my church?” The short answer is yes.
The Example of Jesus
One of the main tenants of the Christian faith is that Jesus is the example we are to follow as we live our lives. Jesus said, in Matthew 20:28, that, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” If we want to be like Jesus then we too must serve.
It is hard to read any of the Gospels without running across ways that Jesus was serving those around Him. I am writing this just after Easter, and one of the images of Holy Week is that of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. He does this in an effort to remind them that they are to continue to serve others after He is gone.
Spiritual Gifts and the Church
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11:
4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God produces each gift in each person. 7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.
This means that every believer is indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit with an ability from God. Paul continues, by saying:
12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink. 14 Indeed, the body is not one part but many.
18 But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in other tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.
What Paul is explaining is why God has given gifts to believers and brought them together in as the church–the body of Christ. It is so that we will, each with our own (different) gift, working together to achieve the mission of Christ.
In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul writes that gifts are given to build up the body of Christ–the church.
11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,
Peter echoes this sentiment in 1 Peter 4:10-11:
10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
No person or job is more important than another–they are just different. Just because one job may not seem as exciting as another does not mean that it is less vital to the life of the body. One finger may not seem too important, but ask someone who has lost their finger how important it was!
- Jesus demonstrated service and set it as an expectation for His followers.
- Paul and Peter explain that Spiritual gifts are given in order to serve the church.
- We are confronted with the fact that it is likely that AT LEAST 80% of the people in the church are not serving like they should.
We must ditch consumer mentality in our faith.
I had a pastor friend tell me the other day that people want the church to be like shopping for clothes. When shopping for clothing, they want the best store, with the best quality, at the lowest cost. When they go to church, they want the best church, with the best programs, with the lowest personal cost.
Following Jesus will cost us something, but too few are willing to make the sacrifice.