The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 10/12

Posted on | October 12, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 10/12

Scripture reading: I John 3:16–18

Motives for Ministry

For the love of Christ compels us. (II Corinthians 5:14. NKJV)

Whether working in the nursery at church, serving in the soup kitchen downtown, or planting churches in Africa, people get involved in ministry for many reasons. Over the years I’ve come to marvel at some of the motives that drive people to service. Let me introduce you to some servants of Christ I’ve known. Though obviously fictitious, they represent a broad cross-section of that vast army of volunteers who serve in and through the church.

Bored Bob. Discontent and restless, Bob added some spice and excitement to his life by signing up for a short-term missions trip to South East Asia. He had been lured into this by a desire for adventure and the opportunity to do something . . . well, different. Vacation with a purpose! What could be better than that? Besides, this would look good on his resume.

Pity Patty. Patty couldn’t stop crying when she heard the missionary talk about the sex-trafficking of children in Calcutta. The images haunted her in the night. “Oh those poor babies,” she kept saying. “Somebody ought to do something.” Finally, she mailed a generous check to the missionary’s organization and promised to pray. This helped her feel better.

Guilty Gus. Gus came across Luke 12:48 one morning in his devotions. Everyone to whom much is given, of him much will be required. These words of Jesus made him feel terrible! Not only did he have plenty of food, clothing, education, and money, he also had the Gospel! His conscience troubled him so much that he finally called the church office and volunteered for the refugee ministry the church was sponsoring.

Dutiful Doug. The sermon hit Doug like a ton of bricks. “Some of you are waiting for a mystical call before you get involved,” the preacher said. “Christ has already called you. You don’t need a call. You need a kick in the seat of the pants!” Doug always responded to sermons like this. When the invitation was given, he went forward and signed a card that indicated his readiness to help wherever he was needed.

Perhaps you have met some of these people too. Maybe you are one of these people! The truth is that many of us are involved in ministry for selfish reasons. We feel better when we serve, or go, or give. But think about this a moment! That means ministry is all about me. And when service to others is all about me then service to others is not service to others. Rather, it becomes a smoke screen for meeting my own needs!

The New Testament ultimately gives only one motivation for ministry that pleases God and has a redemptive impact on those we serve: love. It was love that motivated the Father to send the Son into the world (John 3:16), and it was love that motivated the Son to give his life for others ((John 15:13). If we are his followers, regardless of what secondary reasons we may have for wanting to serve, the primary motivation must ultimately be love.

If you are uncertain of which of two paths to take, choose the one on which the shadow of the cross falls. —Bishop Walpole

point to ponder • What is your motivation for wanting to serve others?

prayer focus • That God would pour his agape-love into your heart!

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