Serving with the Wrong Motives

There is a lot going on at Mililani Baptist Church this summer. We just wrapped up Vacation Bible School and coming up in July we are celebrating our 40th Anniversary, our youth are going to camp, our senior adults are having their VBS, and we are having a water fun day for children. I am reminded when I see so much activity going on within the church and when I see so many individuals running around serving, how important it is for all of us to take the time to find rest in Jesus Christ. It’s great to be busy for God, but it should never come at the expense of our personal relationship with Jesus. He himself says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

One of the reasons we often get burned out serving is because we do things with wrong motives. Following is a list of misguided reasons for serving within the church:

  1. Serving in order to make oneself worthy enough for God. Some people serve because they believe that they have to continue to earn God’s forgiveness and acceptance. They operate under the assumption that God wants them to be holy, so therefore, they must work hard in order to please Him. These people are essentially still trying to justify themselves, making themselves righteous before God.
  2. Serving in order to get something from God. Some do good things because they believe that if they work hard, then God will be good to them. They serve within the church in order to get things from God. Doing things for God doesn’t please God though. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please God. God wants our faithfulness and love more than our service.
  3. Serving to impress or to please others. Some serve because they want people to notice them. They take positions of leadership and authority because they want others to know what an important role they play within the church. These individuals often become frustrated and upset when they aren’t properly recognized or thanked by others for their service. Others serve in order to be part of the “in-crowd.” They serve so that others will accept and embrace them. Still others serve because they can’t bear to let people down or disappoint them.
  4. Serving because Jesus or his church needs me. Certain people feel that they are solely responsible for carrying out a particular ministry and doing it well. They view themselves as being needed by the church to oversee specific ministries. They mistakenly believe that the church and its ministries would fall apart without them. They feel as if they are indispensable and that Jesus and His bride do, in fact, need them. What we all sometimes forget is that God doesn’t need us. He’s quite capable of carrying out his will without us. It’s a harsh reality for some, but a reality nonetheless, that every person in a position of service is replaceable. Jesus and his bride are not dependent upon any one person. Christ may accomplish things through believers, but he isn’t dependent upon them.

When things get hectic in the life of the church, it is important for us to remind ourselves of whom and why we serve. We need to keep in mind why Christ came into this world. Mark 10:45 tells us that “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Christ came not so that we could serve him, but so that he could serve us! Our Savior desires to be in an intimate relationship with us. Make sure that you are prioritizing that relationship above service within His church.