We volunteer to work VBS, or provide a meal for a new mom or someone recovering from surgery. We serve in the church as teachers, deacons, sports coaches. Why do we do these things?
Do we serve to please God, or to please men? Do we serve to glorify God, or ourselves -- or our churches?
The church in Rome was largely made up of those of Jewish descent who were new Christians. Some of the people, having come from the strict Jewish faith, wanted to impose Jewish dietary laws on the new church members, and so Paul included this crisis of faith in his letter to the Romans, writing, "
For I desire , , and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."
Living a life pleasing to God is one of relationship, not religion. Living a life pleasing to God is like Mary, who sat at Jesus' feet and heard His teachings, instead of Martha, running around like a decapitated chicken doing "the Lord's work."
How many times have we been so frantic doing "the Lord's work" that we miss sitting at His feet?
Do we do acts of service to please God -- or to please men? I have a little private ministry of my own. It's not part of a church program and I do not want accolades for it. The other day I was wrapping up this ministry at my friend's door and who should drive by but one of the pastors. I waved, but did not interact.... I want this time to be spent doing what God wants me to do, not because I write my name on some paper stuck to a clip board. I did not want the pastor to roll down his window and ask me what I was up to -- as that meant I had to tell him, and chances were he'd say, "Wow, great job." You see, I want God to see what I do. He's the one Who matters the most.
We should want to do things to serve and glorify God in secret and in public -- but we have to be careful that those public acts of service do glorify Him and not us. We need to be careful to give all praise and accolades to Him. Read Matthew 6:1-18; many times does Jesus mention what is done in secret? Each time, He states that the Lord God will reward what is done in secret, but not what is done with trumpet and a public relations company.
If churches write news releases about their wonderful acts of service, who gets the glory? That congregation, or God? So who do those churches wish to please, men -- or God?
There's this question before us, how to please God rather than men. The answer is multifold: focus on the relationship with God. Sit at His feet. Read the Bible -- study it. Don't wait for a Bible study to do so, if you must, do it on your own. Pray silently and humbly to Him. When you do acts of service in His Name, truly do them in His Name -- do not expect -- indeed, resist the temptation to take on the glory for yourself. It's all about Jesus. No one other.
As Revelation 4:10-11 states, "...The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being," (emphasis added).
You see, one day, we will be before Jesus, and He will go over our acts that we did for Him -- in secret and in public -- and weigh them against each other. He will give us crowns, but only for a moment, as we place them at the Throne and praise Him for all eternity. We should be in the business of pleasing God with our very lives, attitudes and actions -- not men.
In His Service,
(C) 2015 Terrie Bentley McKee
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