Monday, August 30, 2010

Service and Significance

Yesterday at church our pastor used a power video about service and significance. It picture a young man sitting on a set of bleachers, discussing his search for significance in his Christian walk - what God wanted Him to do. Suddenly this hand appears, holding something suggesting teaching. "Oh no" he replies. "My gift is not in teaching children. That's not me. But about me - and my place in the church" - and off he goes again on a discussion of what he is feeling called to. Another hand, holding a sponge. "What - me clean? Wow. I'm dirt freak. Really not my calling" - and off he starts to ramble again.

Our pastor then made the statement - If you want to be significant, if you want to find significance in the church and in God's kingdom (and in your life for that matter), serve. Ah, we may say, of course I'll serve - but I'll set the priorities. I know best what I'm skillful at and can do. Guess, of course, what God says to that.

This was not the most comfortable sermon Sunday.

But that's really the point, isn't it? If we're called to serve (and we are), we serve. Perhaps we've become too enamored of the concept (at least in 21st Century Western Culture) that serving means to serve in what I feel is my calling, the same way I should have a job which comports with what I believe my gifts are. Of course, most of us have jobs which are not in our areas of calling or interest yet we continue to do them because we like to get paid; how come we fail to hold the same standard when it comes to serving? Is it because we believe that serving God is something which is supposed to be intensely personal , not necessarily a matter of obedience? Is it because we believe that we believe we should directly feel good about serving, not that we may feel good as a result of serving? Is it because we believe that even is serving it should be all about us?

"God", said my pastor "made us to be servants. He didn't ask us to be servants." Perhaps much of my angst arises from confusing the two.

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