|One of my favorite Scriptures is found in the last chapter of Joshua, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15) I purposefully left part of this verse out to get to the heart of the matter. Joshua was giving the Israelites a speech prior to their entering the Promised Land. He was telling them that they could choose to serve either the gods of the people who dwell in the land, or they could choose to serve the Lord. |
Just like Joshua and the Israelites we in America have a choice to make. Are we to serve the gods of American culture – cable TV, sports, pleasure, sexual immorality, drugs, politics, gambling, drinking, money, power, prestige – or will we serve the Lord.
Joshua and the Israelites made the correct choice, they chose to serve the Lord. Unfortunately, they did not eliminate the culture of the people whose land they conquered. The people and culture, little by little, invaded the lives and hearts of the Israelite people. Soon they were up to their eyeballs in "serving" the gods of the people whom they conquered. Are we, as Christians in America today, falling to the same fate that they did?
I would like to look at three areas where we need to be steadfast in our serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Those areas are – our lives, our talents and our finances.
Serving Christ With Our Lives
First, and foremost, we need to serve Christ with our lives. Now you may say, "I am a Christian. Of course I am serving Christ with my life." But are you really? What does it mean to serve Christ with our lives?
I just imagine that all too often the typical Christian feels that as long as he/she attends church on Sunday morning and then tries to live a decent life the rest of the time that they are living a life serving Christ. But this is not so! Serving Christ demands much more than this.
Serving Christ with our lives means that we will be faithful to the worship services as often as it is possible for us to attend. That means that attending worship service, Sunday School, mid-week Bible Study and so forth is our first priority. Not that we will attend if something else doesn't comes up. We should plant to attend all of these occasions to worship and praise God. The only time that we should miss one of these is when we simply cannot attend!
Serving Christ with our lives means that we take Him to work with us every day. I cannot imagine having a job that I could not talk about Christ with others. I realize that often we must be selective with whom we speak of Christ for many will simply not accept any instruction in becoming a Christian. However, we should always be looking for an opportunity to tell our fellow workers about Jesus and what He means to us. Then there are those that we work with that are Christians as well. It is really great to be able to talk about Christ with those we work with and to share with each other. I am not talking about ignoring our work duties. It is important that we give our employers a good days work for the money we receive. But there are always times and opportunities to witness for Christ.
It is also important to have Christ on our minds as we work. The day seems to go so much better when I can think about Christ and what He has done for me as I go about the many tasks I must accomplish. I have a job where I must make decisions each day which affect people. To ask for God's guidance and trust in Him makes those decisions easier to make and uphold.
What about serving Christ during those times which are recreation in nature. I certainly do not mean to imply that when one serves Christ that he/she cannot attend sporting events, play golf, go to the movies, watch TV or any number of other recreational activities. However, how we approach those activities does have an affect on our serving Christ. Do we put those things first? If so, then we are not doing the right thing. Are we selective when we choose the things we want to do for fun? Again, we must be selective if we are to serve Christ with our lives. We should not watch most of the filth on TV and the movies. Most of it is nothing but sex and violence. Be selective. Don't watch the filth.
When we play golf, go bowling, and so forth we must also be selective. While it is not bad (in and of itself) to play golf, etc., the people we choose to play those game with can have a very negative effect on our lives. If those we choose to participate in these recreational activities are drinkers, gamblers, womanizers, and so forth, these attitudes will rub off on us. You know the old saying, "Birds of a feather flock together."
Serving Christ With Our Talents
One of the disappointments in life for me is that I cannot sing or play a musical instrument. I really wish that I could! Perhaps some day I'll be able to learn to do one or both of these. However, I do have other talents. So do you. The important thing is that you and I use what talents we do have to glorify the Lord.
What better thing could we do with our talents than serve the Lord? If singing is our talent, we should use it to glorify God through song during worship service or when ever we can. But if our talent lies elsewhere, we need to use it as well.
As for me, I do have some ability to write and speak. Therefore, I have this print ministry and I also do some preaching when the opportunity arises. I can also teach and I use this ability as well to serve God.
But your talents may be in visiting the sick or the downhearted. You may be excellent in creating craft items that the elderly or even children in Sunday School could work on. You may be able to provide meals to those who have lost a loved one or for special occasions at church. Your talent may be in arranging flowers for the church services. It may be in meeting and greeting people and inviting them to worship service.
Whatever your talent, use it to serve Christ. If we have a talent (and we all do) and we are not using that talent to serve Christ, then we are guilty of withholding from Him that which He has given to us. Remember, our talents are from God. We could do nothing if it were not for Him. And it is through Him that we can make the most of our talents and use them to glorify Jesus Christ.
Serving Christ With Our Finances
One of the most touchy subjects is the one of serving Christ with our finances. Most people seem to really get offended when we begin to talk about giving to the church. But, this is so important – not so much for Christ, but for us!
If we truly love Christ, then we will want to support His work. That means giving to the church so that the gospel can be preached and lost lives won for Christ. The local church simply cannot do the work necessary without the support of its people. We should want to see lost souls saved. The best way this can happen is for the local church to be thriving and seeking the lost in the community.
Another aspect of the work of the local church is the support of missionaries. Does your congregation have missionaries which it supports? It should, perhaps even must if it is to be a church which loves and follows Christ. The work of foreign missionaries is so very important. Remember that Christ told the apostles to go into ALL the world and preach the gospel. We should do likewise. We can do likewise by supporting foreign missionaries individually and through the local church.
While these are important, the real reason to give of our finances is a matter of worship. By giving generously we show Christ that we love Him and want His work to be supported. Giving lip service to Christ may fool our fellow man, but it will not fool God.
Give Our Best To The Master
Choose this day whom you will serve! To serve Christ means to give Him our best. Give Him the best part of our lives, both in work and play. Give Him the best of our talents. Use what we have and develop new talents to worship and glorify Christ. And give of our best of our finances. Give a tithe and then a generous gift as well.
I like the old saying, "You can't out-give God." This is true in all three respects – our lives, our talents and our finances.
All Scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
About the Author
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of The Home Bible Study Institute.
Visit our site at http://www.james1-22.org
Permission to use is granted if attributed to author and his website.
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