When I was younger, in about seventh grade, I had the opportunity to go on my first mission trip with my youth group. We were only going to Michigan for a week, but it was an opportunity for me to experience what serving was all about. I was very excited because my best friend in the entire world was going on the trip with me. However, in order to pay for the trip, we had to raise funds. To do this, the youth leader arranged several ways for us to serve and raise the necessary funds.
One of the places we had an opportunity to serve was the pancake breakfast at the church on the square in Chardon during the Maple Festival. We would go at 7 am each day, write goofy name tags, tie each other’s aprons and get to work! Our job was to clean the sticky syrup off tables and trays and make the space ready for the next group of hungry guests. Sure, it sounds like it was boring work, but I had so much fun serving, especially alongside my best friend! We managed to raise enough funds and had an amazing week in Michigan serving with non-profit organizations!
As the next year came around, me and my best friend signed up to serve at the pancake breakfast again. This time, we weren’t raising funds for anything, we just enjoyed serving so much together that we decided to do it again! And again, the year after that! We continued to do this throughout our high school career until we graduated and moved away to college. I will never forget the joy that I felt after serving. It was such a joyful opportunity to serve families that wanted to have a good breakfast before enjoying the Maple Festival.
As followers of Jesus Christ, serving is a very important job we each have. Yes, I said each. When we allow ourselves to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, we quickly realize that we are given certain spiritual gifts that contribute to the body of Christ. Everyone’s gifting will be different. Some are called to stand in the pulpit and teach the Word. Others are called to play or sing on a worship team, serve as an usher, or work in children’s ministry.
If we are given gifts but try to live our lives using them for something other than the glory of God, we will often find ourselves unhappy and unfulfilled. Here’s a personal example. . . as many of you may know, I just spent the last four months in India. Because I flew there on January 1st, I had started my New Year’s Resolutions there. One of my resolutions was to write on my personal blog site at least twice a month, especially about my time in India.
As I started doing this, I noticed how many viewers I got. I noticed the number of followers increased. I had more viewers in one month than I did the previous year. This spurred the idea of writing more and doing more to gain more viewers, so I could influence more people and gain more followers. I mean, it’s not a bad goal to want to be a sensational internet blogger that many people know about, that is, unless it’s out of pride and to glorify one’s self.
Now, if any of you have known me for any length of time, you know that I love to write and have been since 2012. But, I have recognized it is a gift. One of my favorite subjects to blog about are the blogs I write for PAG as well as the devotionals I write for my own blog; no matter how many viewers those blogs get. Why? Because they are to glorify God, edify the Church, and not myself. They are to allow the Holy Spirit to use my God-given gift to glorify Jesus, not me. When I write for the Lord, it’s not me writing, it’s the Holy Spirit through me.
At the end of my trip, I stopped blogging. I stopped sharing what was happening and what God had been teaching me. The thought of trying to find time to sit down and reflect on what was happening in my life exhausted me. Therefore, I stopped using the gift. In fact, this is the first blog I have written in months (yes, that means I am failing at my New Year’s Resolution!). However, as I write this blog, my heart is overflowing with joy because I am using the gift that God has given me to glorify HIM and build up His Church! This is one of my outlets for serving.
Let me ask you: where are you serving? Where are you actively using the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to glorify God and build up your brothers and sisters in Christ? I know you may be saying, “well, I just don’t have the time”. But, Jesus didn’t say that when He died on the cross for you, did He? I want to encourage you to listen to Pastor Aaron’s sermon: “You are Called to Serve” in the sermon series “Live Your Calling”. Be open and allow the Holy Spirit to show you where you can plug in at PAG or the community around you and begin being an active servant in the Body of Christ.
Remember, “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
Check out the podcast, “Called To Serve” here!