By sis Shanice Soh
Have you ever encountered bad service that made you shake your head? Or have you worked with people who produced slipshod jobs and you wondered why the company still kept them? I have a friend who used to work in the bank and was one of the top salespeople in her company. She has little tolerance for poor service and opines that frontline people should possess the right attitude and be given proper training so as to provide excellent customer service.
Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of poor attitude or half-hearted service. We may feel indignant, short-changed, angered or offended by what we deem as sub-standard service. Consider then how the almighty God, who created the world and everything therein, would rate our service towards Him. In Deut 15:21, the Israelites were told not to offer blemished sacrifices to the Lord. Likewise, in Romans 12:1, we are told to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." God has certain expectations and we need to adhere to them in order for our service to be acceptable. If we don’t, how much more upset, short-changed, angered or offended would our Creator feel?
In Joshua 24:15, Joshua asked the Israelites to choose whom they would serve. To serve God is a decision we need to make, and one that we need to conscientiously make every day so that we can be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58). Service to God is a commitment; it should not be done on a whim. When we consider what our parents have done for us, we want to repay their love for us. When we consider every single thing that God has done for us and how Jesus had suffered and died on the cruel cross so that we can escape the terrors of hell, shouldn’t we be filled with gratitude and be moved to serve our loving and merciful Father in heaven?
What does the word ‘serve’ mean? The Cambridge dictionary defines it as ‘do your duty to’ someone. When we serve God, we fulfill our duties to Him. As stated in Ecclesiastics 12:13, the whole duty of man is to “fear God and keep His commandments”. In the book of Joshua 24:14, Joshua commanded the Israelites to fear and serve God in sincerity and in truth, and to put away idols.
To serve God in sincerity would mean that hypocritical service is rejected. In Matt 15:8, we read about people who gave lip service but their hearts were far from God. We cannot be like the Laodiceans who are neither cold nor hot, for God will spew us out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16).We need to serve God whole-heartedly and with intense conviction for God looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7). We need to serve God heartily (Col 3:23). For many years, we are able to enjoy great spiritual feasts at Four Seas Bible Lectureships and the gospel meetings that are held in Singapore. The lectureships are made possible because God has blessed us with brethren who have worked hard behind the scenes. For those who are not aware, it takes a year to prepare for the lectureships! God has also blessed us with preachers, teachers, evangelists, missionaries and elders from local and overseas
congregations who have invested a lot of time and effort to prepare the lessons and to travel to this part of the world to enlighten and exhort us. While we enjoy the great lessons and fellowship, let's remember their labour of love in the Lord’s vineyard and to support this good work.
To serve God in truth means we have to abide by His word for His word is truth (John 17:17). If we do not serve God according to His will, our service will be in vain. And we will face the devastating consequence of being asked to depart from Jesus because we have practiced lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23).
To serve God, we need to put away the idols in our lives. Idols can be anything that we prioritise above God or get in our way to serve Him. When we give God second place or lower, we are actually belittling Him. That’s exactly what we are doing if we try to serve God and mammon. “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.” (Matthew 6:24). To what extent are we willing to go to get rid of the idols in our lives? God demands and deserves our total loyalty and commitment.
Serving God according to His will is not an option if we want to be with God for eternity. When Joshua asked the Israelites to decide whom they would serve, their ultimate reply was, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” (Jos 24:24). Let this be the conviction we have in our hearts too!