Serving Suicide

Service within the church is a mandate for those who are members, and is a requirement for Christians in general.

The command to serve and love one another is found all over the New Testament. Here’s just one example for us to consider today.

“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:7-11 ESV)

In that short passage we are commanded to love, show hospitality, use our gifts, and serve. There are many opportunities to do this at The Crossing. Crossing Kids, Student Ministries, Care Ministries, ushering, building maintenance, parking lot support, etc.

But you can serve in a way that not only will cause you to quickly lose interest, but can ultimately be suicide for your soul (I have to give credit to Polly Conner for giving me the idea for this phrase).

Let me describe what I mean by “losing interest quickly.” This tends to happen to people who are prone to get excited about something but have difficulty following through. So you decide to serve in some capacity, but after a few months of serving, somewhat sporadically perhaps, there are several reasons that have now piled up why it isn’t a good use of your time. Here are some possible warning signs of this syndrome.

1. Doing the minimum required. If you’re simply doing the minimum, you might actually just be doing it to “check off a box.” If you want to feel and see some dividends from your efforts you’ll have to invest something.

2. Not developing relationships with those whom you serve alongside. If you want to burn out and lose interest, keep yourself in isolation while you serve. The church at large is a community designed for relationships and the ministries within it are microcosms of the larger body. You don’t need to be best friends with them, but if you aren’t getting to know them you’re going to quit.

3. Failing to remember the big picture. It doesn’t matter how small the role appears to be. If someone doesn’t do it, the church doesn’t function. What if there was no one in the parking lot helping manage the chaos? What if no one was refilling coffee pots and donut boxes (hint – a revolution would start)? What about the person who purchases and sets up the communion elements? Or the people who get to wear cool lanyards and help people find seats? We all play small parts in a big picture. So remember that what you’re doing is important and eternally significant.

But the bigger question for all of us is this – why? What is motivating me to serve?

We’re mixed bags with mixed motives. They’re not entirely pure. Do we do it to look good to those watching? Sometimes. Do we do it because we feel obligated? Sometimes.

But notice what our impetus should be. “In order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” We should serve because God is glorified by our work for him and because our work is allowing other people to work as well. If it’s not for this, we just might be victims of serving suicide.

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