We’re in a new series called “Foundations” which builds off of Jesus’ metaphor in Matt 7: “A house built on sand will never be able to stand BUT a house that’s built on the rock will never be able to fall.”
This week, we’re in Practice #5: Serve with Time & Talents. Set aside 15 minutes with us to explore what and why disciples of Jesus are called to serve. Today, we’ll explore a brief theology of service from the Old Testament.
The Hebrew term “abad” (see description here) includes the connotations of “work, serve, labor, cultivate.” Often, “work” and “serve” are interchangeable within the text. This verb appears early in the Scriptural story when “the Lord God [takes] the man and [puts] him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Adam and Eve are to be servants of creation - cultivators of God’s earth. This is a pattern established for all of God’s image bearers to follow.
In his book “Every Good Endeavor,” pastor Tim Keller says this: “The fact that God put work in paradise is startling to us because we so often think of work as an unnecessary evil or even punishment. Yet we do not see work brought into our human story after the fall of Adam, as a part of the resulting brokenness and curse; it is part of the blessedness of the garden of God” (pg. 23, emphasis mine). Genesis lets us know that our calling to “rule over the earth” (1:28) is one of delight and joy. We have the opportunity to serve Him through cultivation.
Some questions to consider:
- How do you view work and service? Are they the same thing or different, especially as they relate to God as the one whom we serve?
- What kinds of work/service do you enjoy? How has God designed you as a cultivator and image bearer?
- Do you see serving God as an unfortunate necessity or a blessing? How can you reframe your thinking to match God’s description of service?
Read 1 Samuel 12 slowly. Take down a few notes.
1 Samuel 12 records the prophet Samuel’s “farewell address” wherein he replays his own history of serving the Lord and recounts Israel’s recent sinfulness. His admonition to his listeners in v. 24 is simple and straightforward: “fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart.”
That call is for us today. Will we fear Him and serve Him faithfully? That is His desire.
Let’s pray: “God, you are the holy Creator of the universe. You made me in your image so that I would work to cultivate your creation. You called me to love you and serve you with all that I am and all that I have. Let me see the call to serve as a call to worship you - to use my body, mind, and strength to honor you. Help me to freely serve you with my time and my talents, all to the glory of your Name. Amen.”
Published on 10-25-2021 @ 4:30 AM CDT