Serve With A Grateful Heart
by Michael Chu
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SERVE WITH A GRATEFUL HEART
As our inner man grows when we keep at our faithwalk with the LORD, we would naturally want to serve Him. In fact, many young Christians are such eager beavers that they attempt to run even before they could walk and many have fallen flat on the face and been bruised or wounded.
In order to serve the LORD, we need, first of all, to be grounded in the Word of God and begin to build our lives on a firm foundation which is none other than the Rock of Ages -- our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Then, we need to acknowledge and yield to God who is our Master Builder for "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.. (Psalm 127:1a; NKJV)." This work of God is done through the agency of the Holy Spirit who will be with us to teach, guide and lead us.
All Christians are living stones which the Master Builder could use individually and corporately for the building up of the universal church which is the Body of Christ. What is required of us is that we are F.A.T. (Faithful; Available;Teachable). All these three characteristics work in tandem. If we think and/or profess that we are faithful but could not avail ourselves to a work of ministry when called upon, it amounts to nothing. If we are faithful and available but not teachable, where then is there room for improvement and refinement -- where as iron sharpens iron, one man will sharpen another? And, if we do not serve out our calling to the very end when Christ returns, would He then call us "Well done, good and faithful servant"?
To these good characteristic, we can expand to include Holiness (e.g. Holy eyes -- seeing things as God would, Holy thoughts -- thinking thoughts as God would, and so forth such that we be Holy as God is Holy.); Purity (having pure motive to please God above all else and vowing to give Him all the glory); Clean hands (staying clear from sins and fleeing from temptations); and Contrite heart (quick to confess our sins and repent when we fall short of God's glory).
Now, after having served the LORD for some time, we may begin to get a bit weary and find ourselves giving in to some gnawing thoughts. You know the feelings:
Why isn't there any breakthrough yet? Why is it me again having to go the extra mile? What can't the the other fellow worker(s) do it? Life's not fair ... blah, blah, blah and blah, blah, blah.
In such a season of a-little-stormy-confusion (storm-in-a-teacup, yes?), it's time for some high tea and reflections. Maybe not so comfy after all, so let's forget the tea. For in such a time as this, we are likely to be wet, murky and stinky (or skunky) in the belly of a big fish as Jonah was. So, how did Jonah get out?
" 'When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple. ...But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.' So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah 2:7,9,10; NKJV)".
God has prepared/assigned/appointed/ordained a great fish to swallow Jonah. We may feel trapped in our circumstances even when serving God, but He will ever be our Deliverer and Restorer. We can give ourselves a pat on the back in that we are a man or woman whom God uses. The troubling circumstances are there to show where we have gone out of alignment with God's ways.
Here are some thoughts concerning serving the LORD which you may wish to ponder on or add-on:
1. It's a privilege to serve the LORD;
2. Our greatest honour is to serve the LORD;
3. 'Our attitude will determine our altitude' may be a cliche, but makes for excellent application;
4. If we choose not to serve, God can always look for the next person;
5. 'Why' we serve will determine 'How' we serve;
6. The best solution to physical and mental exhaustion is to take a nap; and
7. Get our priorities right (e.g. God, Family, Ministry and Career.)
In conclusion, I think nothing beats serving the LORD out of a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving for all that He has done for us and for His everlasting love towards us. With this realisation, I think we can well nigh enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee, if you will, even when we are serving the LORD.
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