The Christian’s relationship to God is that of servant to master. When one opens his heart to God and obeys the gospel of Jesus Christ, he becomes a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:16-18). No longer is he his own master. He belongs to another (1 Cor. 6:19-20). As servants of God, what characteristics should govern our service?
We should serve fully. Tragically, it was said of Solomon that he “did not fully follow the Lord” (1 Kings 11:6). Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). Elijah rebuked ancient Israel when he said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). There is no middle ground to occupy here. As Johnny Ramsey used to remind me, “Christ must be Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all” (cf. Matt. 12:30).
We should serve reverently and fearfully. To Christians who were struggling to be faithful, the writer of Hebrews encouraged, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). We can never afford to forget who is God and who is not (Ecc. 5:2). As creatures we have but one position in the presence of our Creator – the position of respect, awe, and veneration.
We should serve happily. The servant/master relationship does not have to be a distasteful one, especially when the master was willing to die to save the servant (Heb. 2:9). “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Psa. 144:15). “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help” (Psa. 146:5). “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32)? God has done more for our benefit than we have the capacity to appreciate. To serve a master who is so good to us should be the most joyous service.
We should serve with diligence. It’s frustrating to go into a business and be waited on by one who has little concept of the value of diligent work. What’s worse is to see that same lack of care in the work done for the kingdom of God. If ever there were service to be rendered with vigor, it is service offered to God. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Col. 3:23). “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecc. 9:10).
We should serve with love. When Jesus stooped to wash the feet of his servants, He did it because He “loved His own who were in the world” (John 13:1). Paul said it clearly, “Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Cor. 16:14). Any service we offer to God, no matter how great, will be rejected by Him if that service is not motivated by love (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
Serving God is a wonderful blessing. Let us examine ourselves and make sure that our service is offered properly.