By bro Lee Tian Seng
Since we started the church at Eastside in July 2019, members have zealously taken up many areas to serve. They have shown their commitment by sacrificing their time and using their talents for the Lord in the areas of teaching, preaching, writing articles for the bulletin, cooking for Agape lunches, and so on.
Is it an option for Christians not to serve? This is a question I asked when I wondered why some Christians do not want to serve. As I study the Bible, I realise that we are not only commanded to serve, but it is also our duty to do so.
Jesus, when tempted, said to Satan, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”(John 4:10). He, who is our Master and Lord, washed the disciples’ feet to demonstrate humility and taught His disciples to serve others.
John 13:13-15 - Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an ex-ample, that ye should do as I have done to you.
The Apostle Paul exhorted the Christians in Rome to be diligent and zealous in serving the Lord.
Rom 12: 11 - Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
Thus, it is clear that God wants us to serve Him humbly, diligently and zealously.
In Luke 17:7-10, Jesus told the disciples the Parable of the Unworthy Servants. Suppose a master has a servant and he comes in from ploughing the field and feeding the cattle. Does the master ask him to go sit down to eat? Or does the master expect him to prepare a meal, serve him first and then after that take his own meal? Does the master thank him for doing what he was commanded? The phrase at the beginning “But which of you” (verse 7) implies that no master among them would ask his servant to sit down to eat till he had first prepared the food for his master. Also, none would thank his servant for doing what he is commanded to do. It is expected of servants to obey their masters’ commands and to serve dutifully. Neither would any master say “thank you”, though it will be good for the master to show appreciation, it is not to be expected of a master or by the servant.
Our Lord uses this parable to teach us the desired attitude and expectation of a servant of God.
Notice what is to be desired and expected of a servant:
1. He is to complete his duties.
2. He is expected to obey his master’s commands.
3. He should not expect to be served and thanked for his service.
Likewise, Christians are commanded to serve in this manner. We need to remember that we are servants and so it is our duty to serve. Jesus came to serve and not to be served. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). We are not only to serve but to complete the works that God has told us to do. Jesus said He was sent to do God’s will and when we serve, we should consider it as obeying the commandment of God. It is expected of the children of God to honour and serve Him. Thus, it would not be right to brag about what one has done for the Lord, neither should God’s servants be desirous of receiving rewards and praises from men.
Next, we need to remember that we are unprofitable (unmeritorious) servants. We are unworthy to serve Him. John the Baptist expressed it in this way, “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” (Mark 1:7). He did not consider himself worthy to serve Jesus or to take off His shoes.
We are “unprofitable” in that we are sinners of whom God has redeemed. He has saved us from our sins by His grace and not because of our good works (Eph 2:8). Thus, we are saved and should be thankful to serve. It is also but a little thing to us to be serving Him. What we have done is simply doing our duty. Consider that what we have done for our Lord cannot be compared to what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins while we are unworthy sinners. (Romans 5:8). So, the next time you serve, remember it is but only your duty to do so. We are but just “unprofitable servants.”