Developing a Great Serve!
September 18, 2022 Speaker: Allen Snapp Series: Great to Good
Topic: serving Passage: Mark 10:35–45
Great to Good
Grace Community Church
September 18, 2022
Developing a Great Serve!
Turn in our Bibles to Mark 10.I saw a guy recently wearing a t-shirt that said, “The World’s OK’est Dad”. I love that, it’s a refreshing change from all the “world’s greatest dad” t-shirts. But there is something inside us that wants to be more than just OK. We want our lives to count for more than just ok. Deep inside we want to live great lives. We want to leave a great legacy. We want to be great. That might sound proud but I believe God built that desire into us. The problem isn’t that we want to be great. The problem is that we misunderstand what greatness is.
The disciples definitely did. They often argued among themselves about which of them was the greatest. So in Mark 10 when James and John ask Jesus to let them sit at his right and his left hand when he comes into glory, they’re asking to be acknowledged as the greatest. Let the other ten wear “world’s ok’est apostle” they want to be seen as the greatest of the 12. They want the seats of honor. And that doesn’t sit too well with the other ten. Let’s pick it up in verse 41.
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:35-45
Notice Jesus doesn’t rebuke their desire to be great, he just redirects it. You think greatness is getting to the top rung and having people serve you. Jesus says greatness isn’t measured by how many people serve you, greatness is measured by how many people you serve. If you want to be great, serve. If you want to be the greatest of all, be the servant of all.
Jesus is the greatest of all and he said, I didn’t come to be served but to serve. I didn’t come to exalt myself I came to lower myself, become a servant, even to the point of death on a cross. That’s what true greatness is.
Jesus gave the church two great jobs to do: the great commandment and the great commission. Put together we can boil it down to loving God, loving one another, and loving the lost. Of course there are a lot of other biblical truths we need to learn and obey, but if we love God with all our mind, soul, and strength, if we love one another as much as we love ourselves, and if the love of Christ compels us to go to the lost with the gospel, we’re gonna get the rest right too. In God’s eyes, greatness is always motivated by love.
And serving is a primary way that love is expressed. So what I want to talk about for a few minutes this morning is developing a great serve together as a church. I want us to get a vision for our lives and our church doing great things. Great as in touching and impacting eternal souls in a good and godly way for eternity. Great as in making a difference in people’s lives. Great as
in serving people in Jesus’ name.
So first I want to say thank you all for the ways you serve. It is so appreciated and such a blessing to see your heart to serve. Never underestimate how God can use your service – whether it’s up front or behind the scenes, whether it’s teaching Bible to the kids or welcoming visitors or setting up chairs or running sound or cutting up fallen trees or whatever. Paul says our labor is not in vain. Sometimes we’ll think it is. Sometimes we’ll work and serve and it looks like nothing comes of it. The Bible promises that service done for the Lord is never in vain.
And when we say “the church” we really need to know that the church is bigger than these walls, bigger than a Sunday service or a mid-week meeting. All of you are serving people throughout the week – serving your family, at your job, in your neighborhood, doing volunteer work, and so on. That’s the church too! You are the church so if you’re sharing Jesus with a co-worker or volunteering with the Make-A-Wish foundation or giving to the Bible school in Vietnam, that’s the church serving. Those are works of service. So thank you! Keep it up!
But we want to develop our serve as a church because there is a spiritual synergy that comes from everyone serving the way God calls us to. Together we can do far more than we can do individually. Eph 4 says that the church is built up in love as each part does its part. The job of the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers isn’t to do all the service but to equip the saints for works of service. So part of our developing a great serve is to do a better job of equipping the saints to serve the church with the gifts God gave them.
Here are a couple thoughts on how we develop a great serve.
- God has gifted each of us to serve in different ways – ask God what your gift is and use it!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Rom. 12:6
God is so serious about love expressed through serving that He gives every believer a grace-gift with which to serve the church. Some have the gift of mercy, others the gift of preaching and teaching, others the gift of generous giving, others the gift of encouragement, still others the gift of administration.
Peter gets practical and says we should use the gift we’ve received. It’s not going to do any good if we don’t use it. If you don’t know what it is, take a look at your passions and burdens– what do you care deeply about? Ask yourself, “what am I good at?”
Your gifting probably intersects with your passions and what you’re good at.
The way we develop our gifts is by using them. If we use our gift to serve, we get better at that gift. We see that in the parable of the talents – the faithful servants took the gift God had given them, invested it in the kingdom, and their talents grew.
The unfaithful servant took his talent and didn’t invest it, didn’t use it, he hid it. And when he was called to account, he had nothing to show for what God had given him. If we don’t use the gifts God has given us, they will go dormant and undeveloped. Use them or lose them!
I got a call this week from Matt Farr who is still out of state. His apartment complex was resealing their parking lot and he asked if I could move his car for him. When I went to start the car, the battery was dead from not being used. That car had everything it needed to do what it was designed to do but not doing what it was meant to do for a long time drained its battery. All it took was a jump start to get it back to doing what it was designed to do.
If we haven’t been serving with the gifts God has given us, we might need a jump start from God to get us back to serving others the way God has gifted us to serve. Ask God to enable you to serve, then jump in and begin serving.
- Great serving doesn’t have to be big serving, just meet a need in Jesus name!
In Matt. 10 Jesus sends his disciples out to do great works of ministry. He instructs them to preach the gospel, raise the dead(!), drive out demons, and heal the sick. We’re talking great ministry in Jesus’ name.
Then in verse 42 Jesus says, If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
A cup of cold water isn’t a hard thing to give. It doesn’t take great resources to give a cup of water. It doesn’t take great skill to give someone a cup of water. It takes very little cost or effort, but Jesus says if someone gives a cup of water to even a “little disciple” – meaning a disciple of little standing and little status - Jesus sees this act of service and will reward it.
We are each gifted in different ways, but sometimes there’s just a need and God says, “fill it”. “Well I don’t have the ‘cup of water’ ministry, Lord.” Yeah, but there’s a need, so just do it!
What this tells us is that it’s not just those who do the “big” ministry that are noticed by Jesus. Those who faithfully serve in small ways behind the scenes will one day hear Jesus say, “well done, good and faithful servant.” We might never see how God used it to touch someone’s life, this side of heaven, but that doesn’t mean God didn’t use it. Our labor in the Lord is not in vain.
I heard a very touching story this week. There’s a non-profit called Charity:Water whose mission is to supply clean drinking water to the more than 700 million people in the world who don’t have a source of clean water to drink. It’s really an incredible ministry with 100% of its donations going to supply clean water – their admin costs are covered by donors who underwrite them.
When a young girl named Rachel heard there were children who didn’t have clean water to drink she decided to donate her 9th birthday to Charity:Water asking people to donate her birthday gift to Charity:Water so kids in Africa could have clean water. Her goal was to raise $300, but she fell short, raising $220. She told her mom she’d raise more next year.
But there was no next year for Rachel. Tragically this precious young girl was killed in a car accident. The news went out about Rachel, with news stations sharing her last goal, and people around the world began donating in her name and in a few months over 1.2 million dollars was donated in her name to supplying clean water to thousands of people in Tigray, Ethiopia. It was touching to see her mom and grandparents go to the villages that now have clean water supplies because of Rachel.
Now on one hand it is a tragic and sad that her young life was taken so soon. But length of life isn’t the same as fullness of life. Rachel lived more life and touched more lives in her 9 years than a lot of people who live to be 90 years old. God took her heart to serve and used it far more than she would ever have imagined or lived to see.
Great serving doesn’t have to be big serving, just meet a need in Jesus’ name. Let God take it from there.
- Let’s develop the “many hands” ministry
We’re talking about developing a great serve as a church. The synergy that comes from all of us serving with our gifts. I know that life is busy and a lot of us might feel like our plate is full. We don’t want anyone burning out from over-serving. Being tired at times is ok, anything worth doing is worth being tired sometimes. I love a day of work when at the end of the day I’m tired. It’s a good feeling when it’s the result of being productive.
BTW, there’s also a tiredness that comes from not working. Have you ever had a day where you did nothing and you feel more sluggish than ever at the end of the day?
There’s a saying, “many hands make light work”. Our goal going forward is to have everyone who calls Grace their church serving in some way. Many hands make light work. We don’t ever want to burn anyone out – I think we have in the past. We want the work to be light.
So here’s the ask: if Grace Community Church is your church and you feel called to help us get to a better, healthier, more fruitful place, and you’re not already serving, I’d like every hand to be doing something. No pressure, no guilt, no one’s going to judge anyone. But please pray about where your gift might serve, or where there’s a need you might fill. Many hands means everyone does a little bit so no one has to carry huge amounts of responsibility.
You don’t know the life you might change. You don’t know how God will use your service to make an eternal difference in someone’s life. Those of you already heroically serving, you don’t
know how God has used you. Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Jesus said a great life is a life of serving. A great church is a church filled with people who serve.
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