I’ve heard of a church welcome mat that read: “Enter to worship, Exit to serve.” While I appreciate the sentiment (that most of our service to God happens during the 164 hours each week when we are NOT at church), it isn’t 100 percent accurate.
Worship can happen anytime, anywhere. Meet the conditions of coming to God in spirit and in truth, and you can kneel before him while stuck in a traffic jam.
Some service to God happens in church. Isn’t a teacher who leads a class in Bible study serving the Lord?
The problem comes when Christians start thinking their most important service to God is done at church.
Let’s combat this by reflecting on our mission.
Every believer has the same mission: spread the Gospel.
That might look different in every person’s life, but Jesus told us “ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). Our mission in life is to be a good witness for the Lord.
I used to have a post office box. A couple different times, I went to collect my mail and this old man approached me, “Can I ask you a personal question?” (If you’ve been around evangelical Christians for very long, you’ve heard how this conversation plays out.)
I smiled when I assured him I knew Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I thanked him for caring enough about a complete stranger to ask about my eternity.
However, I would never attempt to be a witness in this way.
Perhaps he did meet someone at the post office who was under conviction and looking for assurance that they would go to Heaven after they died. I would guess the percentage is quite low.
Our mission is to reach the people we know and come into contact with. Most especially, the people we have an established rapport with already.
Unless we personalize the Great Commission in this way, it looks too hefty, something we can never do. Or something we can convince ourselves we’re doing if we give money to missionaries.
If you know people who don’t know Christ as their personal Savior, they are your mission field. (I just trampled on my own toes here.)
Our standard for serving God is found in the book of Acts. It’s the first church, the church at Jerusalem.
Church meetings happened every day. At every meeting the Gospel was shared. People accepted Christ. Afterward, they got baptized and joined the church.
Back in our mission verse, Acts 1:8, Christ told his disciples that they would be endued with power. The fullness of this came on Pentecost. The results were 3,000 new church members (Acts 2:41).
That same Holy Spirit empowers us today. He goes before us to convict people of sin and draw them to the saving power of Christ.
What we don’t have is the same sort of dedication as those first church members. I’m not trying to sound harsh or judgmental, either.
“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. All that believed were together…and continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house…praising God, and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:42-27).
Maybe this resembles you and your church. As for me, I can’t continue to discuss this matter because I fall far short of this standard.
Mediocre = Worthless
The results of failing to acknowledge and pursue our mission for Christ is mediocrity.
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).
Worthless. This is what our witness becomes when we fail to shine for Jesus every day and in every place.
We are servants of God. A servant represents his master no matter the time of day or location. What sort of God representative are you?
Service is anything (and everything) we do to honor God. Cleaning my house can be service when I’m doing my best because I know that will please the Lord.
I don’t get time off from being God’s representative when I’m having a bad day and snap at those women standing in front of the entrance doors, blocking me from my hateful visit for groceries.
As Christ said in Matthew, we don’t get to decide what amounts to service for God. If we belong to him, every minute of our life is spent in service to him.
Will he say “well done” when you face him for your pay day one day?
Or are you trying to witness for him in your own strength, on your own terms and on your timetable?
We have an awesome God. He deserves so much more than mediocre, half-hearted service.
Up Next: Three results of being mediocre