What is your role in Feltham Evangelical Church? Perhaps you have never asked yourself that question. Perhaps you have answered the question in terms of your service in the church. You consider yourself to have a certain ministry and therefore think that that is my role. Of course, of a measure, that is right. However, I want to look at something that goes beyond what our job is in the church, and consider what motivates us as we seek to be for God in the church.
Service Paul says to the Thessalonians: “You know how we lived among you for your sake.” (1 Thess. 1:5b). Paul’s attitude (along with his colleagues Silas and Timothy) was to think of his life at Thessalonica as simply being there to benefit the people there. He was there as their servant. What motivated Paul and his colleagues, was that their life was to help the Thessalonians. They were not there to be popular. They did not do what they thought would make people think well of them. Neither did they think that they had to fulfil a certain traditional way of doing things. They simply wanted their lives to count for the good of others.
This reminds us of their Master, Jesus the LORD, who was the ultimate One who could say: “I have come to live among you for your sake.” Our Lord said: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. (Mark 10:45). His whole mission was governed by His motivation to benefit others. When you stop even to consider His name; that tells you of His servant heart. The words of the angel of the Lord to Joseph were: “you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21).
This Master is our Master. We are called to be His disciples. At the heart of who we are to be, is servanthood. The natural tendency, even sinful tendency, we have is so often to be thinking of “What I can get out of church.” The corrective that Paul and his colleagues, following on from their master, bring to us, is that of being willing to do everything for the benefit of others. When I am in a situation, I should always be thinking about how I can benefit the people I am with.
Consistency We learn further that they were not interested in “hit-and-run ministry”. They were not just going to reach Thessalonica, preach and then go. No, they lived their lives for them. The Thessalonians had living examples before them of what the Christian faith was. Similarly, our God did not shout a message from heaven. He sent His Son. God was incarnated in flesh. Our ministries are substantiated by our lives. The Thessalonians saw the godly self-sacrificing consistent lives of Paul and his fellow servants.
It has been said that people cannot hear when we preach because our lives speak too loudly to contradict the message of our mouths. Let us be consistent in all our ways. This again reminds us of our Lord who was consistent in all that He did. His life verified His words. This leads us to consider our own lives. What is our attitude in our neighbourhoods and in our workplaces? Are we continually remembering that we are there for our Lord? We are there to benefit those around us. This means that our lives should be consistently centred upon obeying the Word and following the Lord.
Steadfastness Paul observed to Timothy that: “I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 2:10). Through the difficulties of life and ministry, we keep going because we want to see others have the experience of knowing Christ Jesus and thereby obtain eternal glory. We are not just there for others when it is easy we are there through thick-and-thin. We stick with it became we want others to be blessed with eternal blessings This brings us to consider the big issues involved here. How we live among others inside and outside the church has eternal consequences.
So can it be said that we are living in all situations for the benefit of others? And in case you think that in doing that you will miss out on life; then you could not be further from the truth. The words of our Lord Jesus from Mark 8:35 are these “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Oh, that we might be losing our lives in serving others. How our church, families and community would be transformed if such were the case.
Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of September 2013