When it comes to the issue of serving in the local church I am amazed by the excuses I hear as to why someone cannot serve. If it is a children’s Sunday School class that needs a teacher I will hear, “I’m not good at teaching children.” If there is a need in the nursery, “I’m not good with babies.” If it is ushering, “I don’t want to miss the singing.” The reality is we all can come up with excuses not to serve and if we all did, no one would be serving. Why is it so hard to get people to serve in the local church? That has been a question I have been asking for a long time. The reality is that the scriptures make it very clear that serving one another is not only expected, it is commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. Why is it then that the old adage is true, 20% of the people do 80% of the work? The American church has become a fast food joint filled with consumers demanding that they get their order correct. For those who do serve, this quickly becomes very frustrating. Those who would like to serve simply say, “I don’t need that stress.”
So how do we fix this problem? We apply the scriptures. 1 Peter 4:8-10 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” It is interesting that in the context of 1 Peter 4, Peter says the words, “since love covers a multitude of sins,” Peter is discussing the reason why we should be serving and even suffering for one another. He seems to imply that when we are not serving (loving) one another, we are most likely engaged in sin; whether that be a sin of commission or of omission.
Martin Luther put it this way, “If [people] don’t offend their neighbor by something they do, then they certainly will by neglecting what they ought to do for their neighbor. An important part of Christianity is love, and love does not insist on its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5). Insisting on our own way is not loving our neighbor, but following our own desires. So not showing love is the same as being disobedient. Whoever isn’t pure, whoever doesn’t struggle daily against himself, will give in to sin and do wrong. Whoever doesn’t have the fruit on the inside won’t show it on the outside toward his neighbor.”
So how is your serve?