Have you given much thought to being called into Christian service? In all honesty and seriousness have you taken the time to reflect and prayerfully consider what God is calling you to do on behalf of His kingdom. I can guarantee that He has a role for you if you will only step up and into it. It’s not a thought that many of us like to spend time on, it makes us uncomfortable to think that we might be asked to go somewhere or do something that is not of our own design. Add that it might be uncomfortable either physically, emotionally or financially (perhaps all three and then some) and we get really nervous about service talk.
The uncomfortable truth is that most of us were not raised in a culture of service talk. Our local churches didn’t encourage, let alone expect, us to step up into service. For most of us the highest we could climb might be a Sunday School teacher, unless of course you were a male and then a few might get to be a Deacon or an Elder but those were few and far between and those were “special” cases of being called by God….. right?
And then a new generation of Christians came and they didn’t know any better. They didn’t know that you were supposed to have years of formal seminary training before becoming a pastor or missionaries or jumping into other service opportunities. They didn’t know that just because they liked to sing or play an instrument they should be a worship leader as that we best left to those with the formal training. They didn’t know that if an opportunity didn’t exist that you really shouldn’t just make one.
They didn’t know any better and we are so much better as the body of Christ for that. Because now we all are being shown that Christian service is an expectation, not just a status for a select few.
“20 Jesus: The kingdom of heaven is like a wealthy landowner who got up early in the morning and went out, first thing, to hire workers to tend his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a day’s wage for the day’s work. The workers headed to the vineyard while the landowner headed home to deal with some paperwork. 3 About three hours later, he went back to the marketplace. He saw some unemployed men standing around with nothing to do.
Landowner: 4 Do you need some work? Go over to my vineyard and join the crew there. I’ll pay you well.
So off they went to join the crew at the vineyard. 5 About three hours later, and then three hours after that, the landowner went back to the market and saw another crew of men and hired them, too, sending them off to his vineyard and promising to pay them well. 6 Then finally late in the afternoon, at the cusp of night, the landowner walked again through the marketplace, and he saw other workers still standing around.
Landowner: Why have you been standing here all day, doing nothing?
Workers: 7 Because no one has hired us.
Landowner: Well, you should go over to my vineyard and work.
And off the workers went. 8 When quitting time arrived, the landowner called to his foreman.
Landowner: Pay the workers their day’s wages, beginning with the workers I hired most recently and ending with the workers who have been here all day.
9 So the workers who had been hired just a short while before came to the foreman, and he paid them each a day’s wage. 10 Then other workers who had arrived during the day were paid, each of them a day’s wage. Finally, the workers who’d been toiling since early morning came thinking they’d be paid more, but the foreman paid each of them a day’s wage. 11 As they received their pay, this last group of workers began to protest.
First Workers: 12 We’ve been here since the crack of dawn! And you’re paying us the exact same wage you paid the crew that just showed up. We deserve more than they do. We’ve been slogging in the heat of the sun all day—these others haven’t worked nearly as long as we have!
13 The landowner heard these protests.
Landowner (to a worker): Friend, no one has been wronged here today. This isn’t about what you deserve. You agreed to work for a day’s wage,did you not? 14 So take your money and go home. I can give my money to whomever I please, and it pleases me to pay everyone the same amount of money. 15 Do you think I don’t have the right to dispose of my money as I wish? Or does my generosity somehow prick at you?
16 And that is your picture: The last will be first and the first will be last.”
Matthew 20:1-16 (The VOICE)
Could perhaps this be the same similar conversation we have about Christian service? It is tempting to want to think of the ability to enter into missionary work or church planting or even local service inside our church community as some higher level status to be earned and achieved. In reality it is work open to everyone and everyone is being invited in.
Like the workers in verse 7, no one has hired some of us to go work in the vineyards. We’ve been standing around waiting to be asked, waiting to go to work, waiting to serve.
Waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Consider yourself hired.
Our wait is over, we have multiple opportunities surrounding us to become active and to serve. Locally in our home churches, in our communities, even within missions both domestically or internationally. What is a need that you see? What is the calling that is in your heart? Don’t let the size of your dream stop you. Draw a prayer circle around it and let yourself be led to where God intends you to be. We desperately need church planters in so many parts of our country, both urban and rural. It will not be new mega churches that reach people in need, rather small local community and neighborhood based efforts led by ordinary folks doing extra ordinary work for the Kingdom.
There will continue to be those who think that service is not for everyone, that somehow God only calls a few to come work for Him. Like the workers who complained that they were being paid the same as all the other workers they just don’t get it. God wants to reward the willingness to work for him, not the tenure. We want our definition of fair, but God wants to show favor on all of us, not just a select few.
We all, every single one of us that is called a follower of Christ, are called into service. There is no deferral, no delay and no denial. We are all to be busy working for the Kingdom and there is a lot of work to be done.
Do you accept the job being offered?