We all serve the Lord in one way or another. We are happy to be of service to God. But have we paused and thought for a moment whether the kind of service that we offer to God is acceptable to Him? Here are two aspects of the Lord’s service. First is the negative aspect of the service which is a type of service that is not acceptable to God. That kind of service is sloppy and full of complaints. The second aspect is that which is pleasing to God, it is a service where everything done in the service of God is an act of worship, in gladness and to the glory of His name. “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing, “Psalm 100:2) and a hearty service that pleases Him (as Paul said, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).
Acceptable Christian service is more than just a good program because it is done out of a grateful heart. Such service is sincere and free of hypocrisy. A program may run well and receive men’s praise, but if it is run by ungrateful people, it will be run by self and for self and for people to see and admire. We need to constantly remind ourselves that whatever we do, we are to work at it with all our hearts, as unto the Lord and not unto people. Many things are absolutely needful for the acceptance of any service rendered unto God: of these some are not stated in the text, but they are so important that I commence with mentioning them. The first is that the person who attempts to serve God should himself be accepted. The offerer must himself be born again or his offering will be tainted by his condition and be inevitably unacceptable.
If we are to serve God acceptably, it must be under unquantifiable obligation to Him without any fear or apology for humans. Acceptable service must be rendered to God through His grace that He has bestowed upon us. “Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably.” Note, then, that acceptable service to God is not offered in the power of a natural person but in the service of God everything must be the fruit of grace. You are to serve the Lord, not in the strength of your own wit or experience, or talent, but in the energy of the new life which God has given you, and in the power of the grace which is continually bestowed upon you moment by moment as you seek it of the Lord. To serve God acceptably we must do it with reverence. The angels feel their own littleness when they stand before the presence of the dread Supreme. You and I who are much less than angels, and have sinned, should, when we come before God, be covered with blushes. Our heart should be filled with wonder that we are called to this high privilege, though we are so unworthy of it.
Acceptable service to God requires that we live a life of Holiness. God is Holy and He expects us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15, 16). A holy Christian is a powerful weapon in the hand of God. Service to God requires absolute devotion and commitment. God must be served wholeheartedly (Colossians 3:23). One good example in the Old Testament where God’s people served God wholeheartedly was the building of the temple. Because King David was a man of war, he was not allowed to build the temple, but his son Solomon was allowed. However, he was able to make preparation (as much as possible) for Solomon to do it (1 Chronicles 29:1-5a). Then he challenged the congregation – “And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” (1 Chronicles 29:5b) And the leaders of Israel responded readily and enthusiastically (1 Chronicles 29:6-8). Then we read how King David and the people of God rejoiced greatly because the leaders had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD (1 Chronicles 29:9). This type of rare opportunity has presented itself in our midst and I thank God that members of this congregation are doing well in this regard.
When God commanded Moses to build the tabernacle, the people of God responded enthusiastically also (Exodus 35). The key word here is “willing.” The people gave out of a willing heart (2 Corinthians 9:7; 8:1-5). Interestingly, they had to be told to stop giving to the project (Exodus 35:20-24; 36:4-7). In addition to material gifts, many of the people of God willingly offered their skills and talents to build the tabernacle (Exodus 35:25-29). A grateful Christian offers his service to God happily. He serves Him with gladness. There is no holding back. There is no complaint from him. Whenever he is called upon, he willingly and happily offers his service to the Lord.
There are so many gifted and talented people in our midst. There are so many opportunities to serve God. As you offer yourself for God’s service, please do so in deep gratitude because God is preparing a kingdom for you, He is saving you from sin and misery, giving you life everlasting and life superabundant (John 3:16; 10:10; Romans 6:23), promising you a place in heaven (John 14:1-3) and giving you a blessed hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Only such service pleases God and is acceptable in His sight.
Your brother, friend, Pastor & Archdeacon