I have served in the church for as long as I can remember. From the time I was strong enough to push a dry mop, I was put to work. When the doors of the church were open, I was there with my family doing what needed to be done. I still do what I can. There are those who believe me to be employed full-time by the church. I’m just a volunteer.
But in all my volunteering and service, I still need to be careful. Though I’ll never tell anyone that service in the church is a bad thing, it can become so if that’s all we do.
In my years in the church I’ve seen people who equate service with holiness. They work and work and work and when Sunday morning rolls around, they’re still working. While the church requires servants for nearly every aspect of the ministry, if we never take the time to stop working and just listen the the Word of God, we put ourselves in a very dangerous place. A place where works become our salvation and words become a distraction from the work.
But Martha was distracted by much service, And she went up to him and said, “lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:40-42 (ESV)
If all you’ve ever done is serve, but haven’t hidden God’s Word in your heart, what will you be when the service is gone? Service can be taken away in many ways, whether it be due to health issues, a new church, or a change in leadership. But once God’s Word is in you, it can’t be taken away.
I am not telling you to stop serving. Please serve in your local church! The church needs people willing to sacrifice and serve. But the local church also needs people saturated in the word. Without the Word, we can’t even call ourselves the church. And if we are no longer the church, why should we bother with service?
Daily Bible reading: Judges 18-19; Luke 10:25-42