My head is still in such a fog from this sinus infection that won't let go! Even as I suffer through this God keeps tugging on my heart with what I believe are His thoughts.
In the past couple of days the idea of service has really been heavy in my mind. Specifically service in our local church. I just filled out an application for our praise team and one of the questions was what are my involvements at Grace (my church). I began listing them. Another question asked about previous music experience. I began naming those. As I think back to those 2 questions I think about all the service opportunities I've had in local churches I have attended. What I am learning is that I have always considered service in my church to be an opportunity and I've always looked for something to enjoy serving in. I shamefully admit there have been times I've turned my back on areas of need simply because I didn't want to do it, or it isn't "my" spritual gift, or for the reason of having too much to do outside of church. I feel I've gotten to a good balance in my life. I've learned my limitations with serving. I cannot serve everywhere there is a need, but I know my spritual gifts and my talents and choose to use those where I can. Spiritual gifts...mine top ones are in administration and teaching. I can use those in women's ministry, designing and administrating VBS, and in some ways with the faith at home initiative we're doing at church. Talents...music, babysitting. :) I love playing piano on praise team and don't mind filling in for nursery. Though I have my hands in several pockets, I stepped back from some things in the last year that were taking too much family time away.
So what does this all really try to say? There can be no doubt that God has gifted each believer with spritual gifts (Acts 2:38, Rom. 1:11). I also believe God has given us talents which could be in music, carpentry, fixing cars, cooking, etc. The real question is how are we using these? Are we using them in our local church as God EXPECTS us to or do we only use them when it suits our needs, our timing, and our purpose? Do we choose not to be on the nursery rotation because we don't like missing a meeting or not volunteer to be a greeter because I don't want to have a commitment? How sad it is!! We are such a self focused society it's no wonder our churches and families are struggling! We have a purpose that God has created us for, but it goes beyond just ourselves. To truly be committed to Christ means it's going to cost something. How much are you willing to pay? How cheap the costs are in America compared to so many others who long just for a printed copy of a Bible and risk their lives to read it. Leaders in today's churches feel they pull teeth sometimes to get all the believers in their church to serve.
What if I am serving in other ways, outside my church and I don't have time to do anything in my church right now? That's great that you serve outside the church, but what would happen if everyone in your local church said that? There would be no service in the church. How long would the church hold together. We all have heard 1 Cor. 12 where Paul discusses the use and variety of gifts. "For the body is not one member, buy many." We serve more completely when we use our gifts and when all believers are exercising their gifts I believe we will truly experience what unity in the body is. I also feel it will help us serve the world around us better.
A couple of questions...
Do you go to church wondering who is going to notice you? Are you waiting to be served? Do you struggle with your place in your church? If you say yes to any of these ask yourself, "In what capacity am I serving others in my church?" Remember, church isn't about you and your "needs" can't be met if you're not fulfilling the responsibility God has given you (gifts).
Where can I serve? Do you step aside because you haven't been asked to serve or don't know what your gifts are? ASK!! You could be waiting forever and again God has given YOU the gift. Even if you don't know what it is, there is always someone that will help you. Ask you pastor, elders, leaders, mentors, someone you feel is spritually mature. Don't be shy. Some day I will answer to God for my life and I want to be able to say I tried to be a good wife, mother, and worker in Your name. Will He say to me, "Well done my good and faithful servant!" I hope so. I will fail many times, but I must take my heart to Him daily in repentance and desire to do His will.
I'm sure I could come up with more, but my head is getting ~~swimmy~~. Please feel free to add your thoughts or refute mine. :) All is said with an honest heart and desire that all my brothers and sisters in Christ will desire to serve Him more.