This past Sunday, Jeff kicked off a new sermon series titled BE’N’GO. The high point of this week’s message was the importance of knowing who Jesus is before we attempt to serve Him. As we read through John 6:60-71, we saw Jesus’ followers walk away from Him. I know that, as I listened to the message, I was quick to judge those people for leaving Jesus. Who could walk away from Jesus?
I was reminded of a time in my life when I was serving others out of a sense of obligation. I felt obligated to serve because I thought that is what a “good” Christian does. I felt obligated to serve so that I would be noticed by others and, more importantly, by Jesus. I felt obligated to serve because I didn’t know and didn’t want to explore who I would be if it weren’t for my service. I felt obligated to serve because if I didn’t serve, who else would? I felt obligated to serve because I thought that it was my service that would make an impact.
What I was missing is what Jesus said in Matthew 10:8. Since I thought the Lord needed my service in order to love me, I was not receiving freely. Since I thought I had to serve in order to be loved by God and others, I was not giving freely. I easily convinced myself that I hadn’t turned my back on Jesus because I was still serving Him. How could I be turning my back on Him if I was still serving? The truth is I was allowing my sense of self-importance to overshadow the truth that Jesus loved me first so the fact that I serve Him is irrelevant to receiving His love.
So I stopped serving out of a sense of obligation. I started serving so that He would be seen, not so that I would be seen. I started serving because when God created me, He gave me a heart that enjoys serving others. I started serving so that when I am struggling, I can allow God to use His people to speak truth into my life. I started serving because that is what Jesus did. . . he served others.
If you are serving Jesus because you feel like you have to, my prayer for you is that the Lord will give you the confidence to know that He loved you first and nothing can separate you from Him (Romans 8:38-39). If you are being tempted to leave the side of Jesus, my prayer for you is that the Lord will open your eyes so you can think about the wondrous things from His instruction (Psalm 119:18). If you have turned away from Jesus, my plea to you is jump in wholeheartedly. Nothing else and no one else will satisfy. Jesus has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).