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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Authentic Service for Authentic Christians

From Honest to God? Becoming an Authentic Christian by Bill Hybels, page 109-110.

"Yes. It's called authentic service.

It has two essential characteristics. First, it flows naturally out of worship. Second, it takes into account the unique giftedness of the server.

If you've ever served for any motivation besides worship, you were an inauthentic server. Service that pleases God is a heartfelt response for all that He has done. Authentic servers realize they are sinners deserving eternal condemnation. They can do nothing to earn God's favor. Only Jesus' death on their behalf buys their entrance into heaven...

People who grasp the reality of all they have in Christ can't help but respond with worship and gratitude. They find themselves laying awake at night thinking up ways to show their gratitude for God's amazing grace. ..

Authentic service is a genuine attempt to say 'Thank You' to God."

Jean said:

I've done that before, Lord. You know it's true. I've served others and You out of all kinds of motives in the past.

Duty--that's a big one for me. Yes, doing my duty is a noble thing, but it isn't authentic service, is it?

Guilt--I've met so many people who serve out of guilt, or some kind of penance-seeking. There's no joy in it, Lord. There's no satisfaction, no fulfillment when motivated by guilt.

Pressure--usually self-imposed. It's a cruel task master, Lord. Insatiable.

Prestige-seeking--it's hard to fathom, but we people really can serve to be served. We can "serve" with totally selfish motives for recognition or reciprocation.

Selfishness--yes, I've served plenty of times because it made me feel good about myself. How shameful, Lord. How grateful I am that You enable me to lay self aside from time-to-time.

Weak Boundaries--oh, this one could fill an encyclopedia. I guess it covers all the wrong reasons to serve, doesn't it, Lord? Not knowing my own boundaries or not respecting them. Or, worse yet, not respecting other people's boundaries.

Thank You, God, for exposing and purging these motives when I surrender them to You. Keep me focused on the only right motive for serving others--love and gratitude to You.

It's the best way I know to say, "Thank You."

God said:

You're welcomed, Little One.

You--ALL of you--are well worth the price I paid.