This morning was overwhelming. OVERWHELMING. Yesterday, my family and I just got back from a flight from California (about an 11 hour trip, all said and done), so we intended to rest today. Yet I felt, somehow, that I needed to come to the office, and my wife (I am so blessed to be able to serve with her), agreed we needed to do some “light work.” I came in to the office, intending on doing just that, but even before I arrived at the church, someone needed to be served. And the serving remained steady for 3 hours! My intentions were one way, the Lord had other plans. And, as one of the elders of the church and I text messaged one another about all that needed to be done, I said (and meant) that it is a joy to serve the Lord. It truly is, and I truly meant it!
The purpose of the Church is not weekly, twice or thrice weekly meetings. It is to serve the Lord and one another. The Church is the family of God. We’re here for King Jesus and for one another. The Gospel is the church’s mission; if you don’t know it, it’s that we are sinners who, because of our sin (rebellion against God), are destined for death, but God made a way for us through His Son Jesus Christ, living the obedient life we couldn’t, and dying the death to atone for our rebellion, and rising again on the third day, conquering death once and for all! It is only Jesus who can save us from our sin (not to keep us there, but to make us like Himself), and those of us who’ve been set free from the burdens of our sin, know that it is a joy to serve the Lord and His people. No matter what we face, no matter the trials, troubles, persecutions, and general busy-ness of life. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t always feel good; the cross is evidence of that, as are the martyrdom and trials of most of the apostles and many brothers and sisters in Christ since the church began. Joy is different than happiness; happiness is based on circumstance, joy is based on knowing Christ, making Him known, and the security that comes with that. When we serve Christ, there is peace that comes with that knowledge; Jesus looked toward the joy that the Cross would bring, despising the shame (Philippians 2 says a lot on this!), and so we, His servants should serve with the same Spirit! Joshua 24:15
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Malachi 3:14-18 “You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’” Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.” Romans 12:9-21
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.