Created to Serve
About 50 years ago I had a conversation with another person about our life goals. It was short—we did not have any. We were not attempting to accomplish anything in particular. By contrast, Jesus’ purpose on earth was to serve (Mark 10:45). That is our purpose also.
It is easy to be busy without a purpose. That is like running twenty-six miles on a treadmill instead of running a marathon. Similarly, we can spend our energy in church work in ways that have not built more and better disciples in the past and are not likely to ever do so. Jesus did not do that. Evaluating the fruit of our labors and making necessary changes can help us avoid that.
Nehemiah 11:1–23 describes and lists people with a spiritual mission. The people had just finished rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. It protected the city from attack from the outside, but few people lived in Jerusalem. Somehow, Jerusalem’s leaders had to build up the population. They set the pace—3,044 of them settled there.
The biblical text does not mention most of them by name. Many people followed their lead. The leaders cast lots and chose one-tenth of the people to live in Jerusalem, the holy city. Some volunteered to move there.
Nehemiah 11:10–23 describes at least six kinds of work. The church today does not do any of the six. But the principle is that all the work described was spiritual work. Similarly, all church work is spiritual, whether it is teaching a class or drying a dish. The church must do some physical work to meet spiritual goals. We can have service goals as individuals even though we do not preach, teach, or pray in public.
Even if God has not gifted us to be upfront people, He has still gifted us. Can we bake? That could be a way of ministering to others. Can we do carpentry? We can use it to serve others. Whatever gifts and abilities we have, God can use them to serve others. God expects us to use our strengths, gifts, and abilities to serve Him and others.
None of us can do all the jobs needed to make more and better disciples. God designed the members of the church to be interdependent. We all have a part to play. We all have at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12). God expects us to use our gift(s). He will inspect what we have done on Judgment Day. On that day, may each of us hear His “Well done”!
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