Sunday, August 14, 2022

Saved to Serve

By Ron Bartanen


    Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4).

    We who, by the grace of God, are the saved in Christ, were saved not just that we might go to heaven, but that also we might work the works of God.  A believer’s life should be of use to God and man.  Time and again the Scriptures emphasize that we are saved to serve, and that God condemns, as much as any sin, the sin of doing nothing!

    Why, then, are we usually so lax in our Christian service? Why are so many inactive? Why does it take so long for so many Christians to reach so few persons with the Gospel of Christ? We want to point out that there are barriers to service which we need to emphasize and break down in order that we be effective laborers for Christ.

    SELFISHNESS is probably the number one barrier to effective Christian service.  We are basically selfish and are more concerned about our own problems than about anyone else’s.  My ingrown toenail will possibly cause me more concern than my neighbor’s cancer.  My needs always seem much more pressing than the needs of anyone else.  Often, what God wants done must take second place to what I want done.  It is easier to sing “King of my life, I crown Thee now” than it is to crucify self and enthrone Christ in my life.  Lord, deliver me from SELF; help me tear down the barrier of selfishness in my life.

    PRIDE is another barrier to Christian service.  The thankless, often behind-the-scenes job in the Lord’s vineyard often goes begging.  Anyone can serve amidst recognition and praise.  It takes a true servant of Christ to serve when man does not see and man does not care.  There would be no limit to what the church could accomplish if we didn’t care who got the credit.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier teaches a great lesson—a nation’s victories are mostly won by the blood of nameless men.  So, also, in the kingdom of God, the real heroes are the humble, unheralded saints who serve tirelessly simply because they love the Lord.

    PROCRASTINATION is possibly one of the most common barriers to service.  All true Christians want to serve the Lord, but too frequently it is something that we regard as preferably done tomorrow.  From experience I know that I have lost opportunities because I delayed too long.  How quickly the night comes when no longer will work be possible.  How quickly the harvest season will be past!

    May the Lord, in His grace, give power to break down the barriers such as selfishness, pride and procrastination that we may get on with the Master’s work.

- Ronald Bartanen is a retired minister who for many years served the Lord's church in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. He may be contacted at:

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