Service to Others
“As each has received a gift use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10). Contrary to what Peter said, many people look for a local church that will serve their needs with no consideration as to how they can serve the needs of others. Do you serve in your church, or do you just consume what is dished up to you?
As members of a local church, we covenant together to serve the church body, to serve each other, and together to serve our community. “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
In 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 and Romans 12:3-8, Paul describes the church as a body with many different parts. Each part has different functions. If any part is missing or fails to do its part, then the whole body suffers. Someone else may step up to fill that role. But, when a foot tries to fill the role of a hand, the body does not function as God intended. Galatians 6:10, while it places emphasis on believers, admonishes us to “do good to everyone.” After all, we are told, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something drink” (Romans 12:20). This we should do both individually as well as corporately as a local church.
Our faith in Christ is only as real as how we treat the poor, the hungry, the sick, the stranger, the outcast and the oppressed (see Matthew 25:35-40). James famously asks, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15-16). James also tells us that, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
We are called to serve Christ with the talents that he has given us as seen in Jesus’s parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Like the servants in the parable, we will either be commended for how we use our talents or we will be condemned for our laziness.
However, we do not serve so we may be rewarded. Jesus said, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty'” (Luke 17:10). As Paul admonishes, let us; “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4).
We should serve because Christ has changed our heart to one overflowing with love and service to others as a reflection of His love for us. We serve so that Christ might be glorified. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
At Welsh, we provide opportunities for members to use their talents by serving in our various teams. Some of those teams meet the needs of the church body, but some, like the Missions Team, help us to focus our efforts outside our walls to our community and beyond. We generally expect that all our members will serve on a team.
Small groups are also an important part of how we minister to each other. Small groups allow members to share needs and concerns with each other. Unless a need is too large for a small group to handle, we expect the first line of caring for needs to be the small group members caring for each other. We also encourage our small groups to work together to meet needs of others outside the group as they are able.
Spurgeon said, “We need to have a church in which all the members do something, in which all do all they can, in which all are always doing all they can; for this is what our Lord deserves to have from a living loving people bought with His precious blood!”