In yesterday’s sermon at HCC, we addressed the importance of the believer’s involvement in Christian service. Although I am not certain of the exact numbers for our congregation, Evangelical researcher George Barna states that more than 50% of all believers have not volunteered for ministry in the last 12 months. 28% have never volunteered for service in their local congregation. That is an astoundingly disappointing statistic! If that is true, only half of all believers are using their gifts and abilities to advance the Kingdom. What a loss for the work of God!
Why are so few Christians serving? How is it that a person can declare himself to be a follower of Jesus and yet not serve Jesus and others? John 21 gives us several clues as to why some believers serve and others do not.
1. Servers recognize the miraculous.
In John 21 after the recommendation by the “stranger” on the shore resulted in a great catch, John immediately recognized the unknown man as Jesus. He realized that the huge haul of fish was not the consequence of coincidence or the know how of a local fisherman. It was the work of the mighty, all-powerful risen Lord.
What was the last miracle God did in your life? Sadly, many believers, myself included, often fail to recognize the miraculous power of God in their everyday lives. Maybe we are waiting to see God part the waters or move mountains and we miss the smaller miracles. Or, maybe we are just so busy with the normal aspects of life that we fail to recognize the miraculous.
I am convinced that many of Jesus’ followers do not serve because they have forgotten that He still performs miracles. The supernatural is no longer natural. The mundane as become the norm. What if, like John, we truly recognized the work of Jesus in our lives? What if we regularly recognized His provision, His power or His protection? I am convinced that the more we see God at work, the more we will want to participate in His work. Let me challenge you to look for the miraculous.
2. Servers are revived by spending time with Jesus.
I love the part of the story in John 21:12 when the disciples are sitting around the fire with Jesus. Although He hadn’t yet identified Himself, they knew t was the Lord. As I read that verse, I sense giddiness on the part of the disciples. They were so excited to be with their Friend, their Confidant and their Teacher. His mere presence with them lifted their spirits, fanned the flames of their commitment and reminded them of their call.
Once again, I am convinced that many Christians experience a lack of vision, a lack of excitement and an unwillingness to be involved in the work of God because they don’t spend enough time with Jesus. The more time you spend with Jesus, the more your heart becomes enflamed with a desire to serve Him.
3. Servers are motivated by love.
Three times in John 21 Jesus asks Peter if he loved Him. On each occasion Peter answered affirmatively. After each of Peter’s responses Jesus replied the same way, “Feed my sheep.” What did that mean for Peter and how does it apply to us?
The greatest motivation for the believer’s Christian service is not the fact that there is a physical, emotional or spiritual need, nor is it that the church or the pastor asks for your help. No, the greatest motivation for Christian service is your love for Jesus. If you love Him, you should serve Him.
So, are you serving? If not, let me challenge you to look for the miraculous in your life. Where is God working? Also, spend more time with Jesus. The more time you spend with Him, the more you will love Him, and the more you love Him, the more you will desire to serve Him by serving others.