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Monday, August 19, 2019

The Transforming Gift of Service


Introduction
When I was a kid I love the Transformers cartoon series and children's toys.  The Transformers were alien robots that could transform into cars, jets, and other cools things.  Even more amazing, each individual robot warrior could combine with other robots in their unit to form a huge super robot.  Some Transformer would be the legs, and others the arms or body.  And this reminds me of what the Bible says about the Church.  All who follow Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit, who transforms us from our old nature into a new creation of God.  Furthermore, when believers work together as the Church, we make up the body of Christ.  The Holy Spirit gives each believer a special ability we are to use in cooperation with others in the church to help transform the world.  Isn't that cool!  Christian are the real Transformers!

List of Gifts
Romans 12:8-9 list seven gifts the Holy Spirit gives to transform us so we can transform the world. There are other lists in the New Testament list additional gifts.  The number of gifts is not as important as the idea that we are all give gifts by the Holy Spirit that we're to use to build up the Church and make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world.  The gifts we are studying from Romans 12:8-9 are: Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leadership, and Kindness.  Click here if you would like to take a quick and simple assessment to discover how the Holy Spirit may have gifted you.  Today, we will study the transforming gift of Service.

Luke 17:7-10
7 “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? 8 No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ 9 And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. 10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”

Important Ideas About Servants
There are several ideas Jesus teaches us about servants.  First of all, a servant does things that need to be done—important things that might get overlooked because they aren’t necessarily the things most people think about.  However, if these important tasks are left undone these it will lead to serious problems.  What important yet easily overlooked tasks do we see in the passage?  There is plowing.  Plowing is not a glamorous job; but if you don't plow, you won't have much of a harvest and no food.  The passage also mentions taking care of the sheep.  Again, not a fun thing to do, but if you want wool and milk and meat from your sheep, you've got to do the dirty work of taking care of their hooves and health and making sure they are safe and have food and water.  Menial tasks like these and cooking dinner are essential for daily life and the servant is the one who see to them.

Second, a servant puts the needs of others before their own. Jesus says after working all day, the servant prepares the master’s meal and serves the master before the servant eats.  The servant doesn't complain that they've been working all day.  They know their job's not through.  It's who they are and what they do.  They're servants.

Third, a servant doesn’t expect to be thanked. They are just doing what they are supposed to do.  It's their job.  In the biblical world, it was their very identity.  Many people were servant their whole life.  In the Transformers cartoon, there was a robot names Rachet.  Rachet was the medic who transformed into an ambulance and repaired any injured or malfunctioning Transformers.  He was a real servant.  He reminds me of the firefighters, police, and EMTs from real life.  They are always serving, doing those things we don't think about until we desperately need them--when your house is on fire or you have an intruder or you're injured and need emergency medical attention.  We call them public servants we we express our gratitude.  Sometimes we even call them heroes when they do something heroic like save someone from a burning building.  Yet the most often simply respond by saying, “I’m not a hero; I'm just doing my job.”  That's the attitude of a true servant.

Jesus shared the characteristics of the best servants.

Matthew 24:45-46
45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.
  
The Best Servants
All believers, who follow Jesus as Lord, are called to serve.  In fact, Lord Jesus came to serve.  He set the example. He left the glory of heaven to come do what we couldn’t do for ourselves.  And while he was here, he didn’t sit back and expect everyone to serve him.  No.  He served everyone else.  The Greatest among you will be the servant of all.

All believers are called to serve.  But some believers have the exceptional, Holy Spirit empowered gift to serve others.  Gifted servants have a special talent for pinpointing exactly what needs to be done and then finding ways to get those things done.  Their serving frees others to work more effectively.  Gifted servants usually don’t need or even want recognition.  Their greatest reward is knowing that the job was done and it made a difference in the overall mission. 

The best servants are the ones you can trust to get the job done without anyone supervising them.  You don’t have to ask them.  You just trust them to figure out what needs to be done, how to best do it, and to make sure it gets done.  Most of the time, they do the work without you even being aware it’s getting done.  Now, some people would feel taken for granted if they did something without anyone else noticing or saying thank you.  But a true servant sees that this is just part of their purpose.  When they do their job really well, no one will notice, because no one even knew the job needed to be done.

Are You A Servant? 
Are you a servant God wants to use to help transform the world? Do you have the gift of the Holy Spirit to serve exceptionally well? A true gifted servant tends to say things like:
  • "I like to do useful, helpful things for people.
  • I show my feelings by what I do for others more than what I say to them."
  • "I prefer doing a job instead of delegating it to someone else to complete."
  • "I like to assist people in practical ways."
If that’s you, you might be a Holy Spirit empowered servant God wants to use to help transform the world! We need gifted servants in many places around Pleasant Grove:
  • Fixing things - In a large church facility, there are always things that need to be fixed.  We need self-motivated, faithful people who can spot things that need repairs and just get it done.
  • Children/Youth ministry - We already have a gifted youth minister and childrens' minister, but their gifts are teaching.  Our biggest need right now are servants who can assist these ministers by watching over the kids, chaperoning retreats, helping out behind the scene so the youth and children's ministers can focus on leading and teaching.
  • Wednesday night suppers - We always need helpers out our church to set tables, help in the kitchen during dinner, serve food, and clean up after dinner.  Is this something you would help with in your church?
  • Checking lights and doors - Sometimes, you don't need any special skills at all to be a faithful servant.  In a large church facility, there are always light that get left on and doors that don't get locked.  One helpful way to serve is just to go through the building regularly and check that all the lights are off and doors are locked.  This is tremendously helpful.
  • Counting money - We are always grateful for the generous giving to our worship offerings, but the money doesn't magically transport from the offering plates to the bank.  It takes faithful, conscientious servants to count the money, record it properly, and deposit it.  Could this be a way you could serve?
  • Planning events - You don't have to be a creative, visionary person who comes up with great ideas to help plan.  We often have innovative thinkers with great ministry ideas.  Unfortunately, creative types don't always know how to translate their ideas into practical ministries.  They often need help with the details and with carrying out the plans.  Are you a servant who likes to work and get things done?  Perhaps you could help with planning.
There are countless ways to serve through the church, the Body of Christ, especially for people who like to get things done and aren't concerned about getting credit.  All glory be to God and his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who empowers us to work together to transform the world.


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