Jesus told his followers they are in the world but not of it. We work in the world but our home is in heaven. But what does that look like? Some people charge Christians that they are to heavenly minded to be any good.
Knowing our destiny reminds us of our purpose here on earth. While we are here, we can do the works of the Father like Jesus did. He put you here for a reason, and until you are accomplishing his purpose for you, you will not be fulfilled.
In the movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Little refuses to run on Sunday for the Olympics. And yet he says that when he runs he feels God’s pleasure. We don’t have to give up our principles to do the works of God. Stand firm on your principles and complete his plan for your life.
Jesus’ Hands and Feet
From the age of twelve, Jesus was going about his Father’s business. He was in the temple talking to the scribes about the Scriptures. And he was schooling them! The faster we know what God wants us to do, the faster we can get to it.
We talk a lot about compassion ministries as being Jesus’ hands and feet. I’ve heard many people describe it as being Jesus with skin on. As his body, Christians have been called to do his works in this world.
So what are those works? How do we be his hands and feet? Jesus talked about serving the poor, those in prison, and a host of others the world and society has left by the wayside. These people understand what it means to be ministered to. And I think they appreciate it more than most people.
But there are many things we can do as Christians that further the kingdom of God. But being his hands and feet means we don’t just talk about these things. We actively pursue them as his hands. We reach out and we touch the needy.
We go wherever the gospel and the kingdom can make a great impact. When you go, remember to tell people why you do what you do for them. Otherwise, it’s just another well-meaning government program or compassionate neighborly action.
We aren’t interested in the praise of others. We serve for the pleasure of one, Jesus who sent us. Sometimes no one will recognize you for the good that you do. In serving the people who need it the most, we are serving the Lord.
Serving at Work
Some Christians get the impression when they listen to sermons and to Bible teachers that to do something significant they must become a full-time pastor or missionary overseas. But that’s not the case.
You can serve Jesus in your world all around you. It’s not wrong to go on a missions trip. But it starts at home in your own backyard. So whether you go to work or school, these are perfect places to learn how to serve Jesus.
There are hurting and lost people at your work and at your school. These people need to hear the gospel. Sometimes it’s better that they hear it through what you do for them before they hear it through your witness.
Lifestyle evangelism is one of the most powerful tools you have in your toolbox. People don’t want to hear what you have to say until they know you see their need. It’s true that everyone needs Jesus. But they may not see it that way. Perhaps they need groceries, a little bit of money, or something else.
There’s a very popular book called the Five Love Languages where you must learn to show love the way people receive it instead of the way you want to give it. When you’re at the office, the construction site, or wherever else you work, people will only receive what you have to say about Jesus when you show Jesus with your response to their needs.
This requires sacrifice. When we minister to others, we give out of our storehouse. You store resources, giving you the ability to help other people in the ways they need. When you discover a need, you can pray and ask God how you can fulfill it.
And when you do, don’t be silent about why you’re doing it. Tell them God told you what they needed and how to help them the most. You’ll be surprised how open people are to hearing about Jesus after you take care of their needs. But you must listen to God’s voice and be creative in how you help others.
Serving at Home
Do you realize how important you are to your family? The most impact you can make in your world is at home. So many people stay away from their family. Perhaps your family growing up was abusive or dismissive.
Whatever the case, you can set a new standard in your home life. Some people are workaholics because they don’t want to be home. Other people spend their time at the bar. But you make an impact on your spouse and children with your absence as much as your presence. Don’t let the devil have your family. Choose to make your biggest impact at home.
I came from a good and godly home. My parents kept me in line and taught me to live for God. That meant that they didn’t just hand me off to the Sunday School teacher or make me listen to the sermons at church. They modeled everything we believe at home.
Today I am a minister of the gospel and serve the church fervently and happily. They’ve never maybe feel like I could never come home. In fact, when I was struck with paralysis, my parents began to figure out a way to bring me home.
They are some of my greatest examples of heroes in the faith. Becoming that for your family members requires faithfulness to Christ and to them. It takes time to build relationships. You must gain their respect and love.
Maybe you are behind the game because you haven’t done this before. It’s never too late to start. Reach out to them, and you may be surprised how they react. You may have to give them time to process the change in your relationship with them.
But you should do what you can. The earlier you start, the better of a chance you have to change your relationship with them. It’s important for fathers to model what it means to have a Heavenly Father who loves them. Mothers demonstrate God’s nourishing character to their children.
Most importantly, be present in the moment with your family members. We can talk about having devotions with them, talking about God more often, and those types of things. But first you must be present when nothing you say will matter.
Ask God how you can get more involved with your family. I have a friend who took a pay cut and less hours at work so he could be home more. He may not be making as much money, but the impact he is making on his family is unmeasurable.
Serving at Church
Another way you can serve God may seem obvious. What are you doing a church? Are you just showing up, warming up a pew or chair, listening to the worship music, and even staying awake during the sermon?
The things we do in a typical church service are only meant to prepare you to minister the rest of the week. It’s not all up to the pastor. You need to be finding ways to serve in your local church.
What ministries does your church have? Discover your ministry and spiritual gifts. This is a primary way to serve the church and Christ. You are gifts plus and serve others.
You may not have a ministry or spiritual gift that’s out in the open or upfront. Usually God will give you gifts that match your personality. I know people who would never want to be on stage, but serve at the soundboard with excellence.
Some people are outgoing and find out they have the gift of evangelism or hospitality. Every once in a while God really messes with you and gives you some gifts that don’t match your personality or preferences. Own these gifts and the ministry that comes with them.
Serving in church is serving other saints. It’s also serving the community around the church. God’s going to use you in powerful ways. But you have to be open to being used by him. Let your heart start with the desire for God to use you to change the lives of others.
Yes, I already mentioned missions. I want to stress that going on a missions trip opens your eyes to the needs around the world. When you see how other people live, what they have and don’t have compared to you, it opens your heart.
Missions changes your perspective. If you never go on a missions trip, you might never know how much God has blessed you. Most people notice the differences in material things first. But then they see the hunger other people have for Jesus.
It starts with becoming sensitive to the material needs of others. But it goes far beyond that when you realize how hungry people are for God, and how much they need a spiritual move.
Missions trips aren’t the only way to serve abroad. When we can’t go, we can pray for missionaries’ needs. Get the newsletter and find out what you can pray for.
Giving to missions financially is another way we can send people when we can’t go ourselves. Consider a local missions trip, more short-term and manageable for many.
When I was in Bible College, I took missions trips to Newark, New Jersey. It was encouraging to work with the US missionary there. Our first year, we prayed for the property and building he wanted to start a church in. My next year, we were cleaning out the building they purchased. It’s encouraging to see progress.
However you want to approach working for God, there are many options. But you must show up and be present. You must ask God what he wants you to do. Be led by the Holy Spirit. Don’t just do something to do it.
Doing more stuff doesn’t mean you’re fulfilling your purpose. But don’t spend too much time asking God about it and thinking about it. Get involved at work, home, church, and abroad. Leave a comment and share how you serve in these arenas of your life.