We want to serve God, and we want to enjoy doing it. After all, Psalm 100:1-2 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!” So why is it often a struggle for us to serve the Lord with gladness? Maybe it is because we approach service the wrong way. We look for what will make us happy or what will please others, and think that is how to serve joyfully. But there is a better way.
First, consider what your gifts are – both your talents and your spiritual gifts. Are you musical? Are you good with kids? Are you handy? You might have the spiritual gift of wisdom, faith, helping, administrating, prophecy, or teaching. Look at how God has gifted you uniquely and see where you can use those gifts in your church. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Using our gifts as God intended can bring us (and others) great joy!
But what happens when there isn’t a perfect fit for your gifts in your church? Or maybe you (or others) wish you had certain gifts that you just don’t? For example, I am a pastor’s wife who can’t play the piano – tragic, I know! So does that mean I can’t serve effectively? Certainly not!
At the end of 1 Corinthians 12 when Paul has been talking about spiritual gifts and the body of Christ working together, he says in verse 31, “And I will show you a still more excellent way.” This leads into 1 Corinthians 13, “the love chapter.” I get chills just thinking about this – God has given us great gifts (both spiritual ones and talents), but in the end Paul says that the “still more excellent way” is LOVE! Take a moment to read through 1 Corinthians 13 with this question in mind, “How can I serve God joyfully?” All the gifts in the world won’t matter if we aren’t serving with love.
Service isn’t just about us and how we’re gifted – if we treat it this way, we will quickly become disappointed by other people, by circumstances, and by ourselves. But if we serve with the attitude found in 1 Corinthians 13:7, “ Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” and set our sight on serving God through loving others, we will get to experience true joy in service.
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