UNDERSTANDING THE CALL TO SERVE
To demystify our understanding of God’s call to serve, and to appreciate how it works in the ordinary course of our lives.
By the end of this lesson, the participants should:
Demonstrate a clear understanding of God’s call to serve and its implications for every believer.
For many of us, the idea of God’s call generates thoughts of people like Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Paul and others. We imagine it to be a dramatic experience that comes to those whom God has uniquely identified for some special assignment.
In your understanding, how would one know they are called to serve?
1. WHAT IS GOD’S CALL?
i. God’s call is a divine MANDATE to His people.
In His divine design, God has delegated to His people the responsibility of accomplishing His purposes on earth. God’s call is therefore the delegated authority to do His work on earth. The first man Adam was given responsibility to take care of God’s creation.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
2. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A CALL IN CHRISTIAN SERVICE?
Understanding and knowing God’s call is presented in Scriptures as being key to Christian service.
i. God’s call gives LEGITIMACY to our service.
ii. God’s call builds PERSONAL CONFIDENCE
When one understands his or her calling, they can approach ministry with boldness. Paul spoke with authority to the Gentiles because he understood his calling.
“I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles…”
2 Corinthians 6:4-10
“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger… 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
iii. God’s call is AN ANCHOR in times of difficulty.
Christian service can be difficult and challenging. Only confidence in God’s call can keep one going in such times.
3. HOW DO I KNOW I AM CALLED?
i. EVERY BELIEVER is called to serve.
3. HOW DO I KNOW I AM CALLED?
Simply by virtue of being a Christian, every believer is expected to actively engage in God’s work. For this, no special calling is required.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
ii. God’s special call may be through A DIRECT MESSAGE.
Where God has a specific task for an individual, He may send a special word.
iii. God’s call may come through CHURCH APPOINTMENT.
An individual may be identified for a special task by church members or leaders.
iv. God’s call may be manifest through SPECIAL CAPABILITIES.
God has given various individuals different gifts, talents, and skills that should be used for the furtherance of His Kingdom.
4. WHY IS SERVICE TO GOD SO IMPORTANT?
i. Because God created US TO SERVE.
The very first task given to humankind in the Bible was to serve – to take care of God’s creation.
ii. Because God’s work can only be DONE THROUGH US.
God, in His divine design, requires us to be the channels through which He accomplishes His purposes on earth.
iii. Because Service to God IS A PRIVILEGE.
Contrary to people’s view today on service to God, many men and women in the Bible felt honored to be called by God to serve Him in any capacity.
iv. Because Service to God brings ultimate fulfilment.
The ultimate joy of every true believer can only be found in serving God. The Psalmist derived great satisfaction in serving as God’s doorkeeper.
v. Because Service to GOD WILL BE REWARDED.
Though service to God is not meant for personal gain, the Bible promises rewards for those who serve faithfully.
5. WHY IS CHRISTIAN SERVICE SO NEGLECTED?
i. Because we are busy with OUR OWN TASKS.
Many church members consider themselves too busy to be involved in God’s work.
“One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’ 9“But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’ 10“Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’ 11“But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’ 12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’ 13 “But the vine answered, ‘should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?’
ii. Because we FEEL TOO INADEQUATE to serve.
Many people don’t avail themselves to serve because they think they aren’t qualified to. Moses felt his communication skills were inadequate. However, God rebuked him.
God seems to consider our feelings of inadequacy as mere excuses. Instead He expects us to get involved and he will equip us accordingly. Somebody has rightly said, “God qualifies the called, He does not call the qualified.”
iii. Because we believe it is for SOME SPECIAL PEOPLE.
Many people have the false notion that service to God is for extraordinary people
whom He has set apart for His work. Moses felt there was someone better than
himself to be sent to Pharaoh.
6. WHAT IS CHRISTIAN SERVICE ALL ABOUT?
Our perspective of Christian service will influence whether we serve and how we serve in every area of ministry. It is therefore important that we understand what Christian service is all about.
ii. Christian service is about Stewardship.
Christian service is about correctly utilising the gifts and talents God has given us.
Attempting to do Christian service without divine enablement can lead to frustration and failure.
ii. Christian service lacks immediate rewards.
Many times, service to God can be a very thankless job, with no visible benefits. This can be very discouraging.
8. HOW CAN I KNOW WHERE BEST TO SERVE?
People generally serve best in their area of gifts and strengths. Pastor Rick Warren has developed a very helpful tool for analysing and understanding how God has shaped and prepared each one of us for life and service. The analysis is given in an acronym – SHAPE1 which covers several aspects of an individual’s life.
1. Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life, Grand Rapids: Zondervan
These are things you are passionate about and enjoy doing because you have a heart for them. David’s love for music led him to serve King Saul in the palace.
These are the unique characteristics or temperaments that make a person who they are. Barnabas had such a compassionate heart that he was nicknamed Son of Encouragement.
E – Experiences
Situations, good & bad, that you have gone through in the course of your life’s journey. Paul asserts that even the very bad experiences we go through can be used of God to help others.
David drew from his previous encounters with the lion and the bear to confront Goliath the giant.
1 Samuel 17:34-37
“But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.
36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
37 The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Contrary to the thinking of many of us that His call to serve is for specific individuals, God has prepared and equipped every believer with special gifts, talents and abilities for service and ministry in His Kingdom. He therefore expects every one of us to be actively engaged in His service.
DO NOT LEAVE IT HERE
Do not forget to do your daily reflections
Continue the discussion in the SAFARI groups. If you do not yet belong to one, Please join.
Discuss with your accountability partner