This week, I will rise early in the morning; pull on my black pants, and white shirt. I will insert my orthotics in my shoes, and shove my chubby feet into them. After a quick check of my hair and makeup, I will snag my car keys and run out the door.
I’m excited to serve in one of the largest Pastor’s Conferences in America. The Shepherd’s Conference, hosted by Grace Community Church, accommodates (depending on the event) anywhere from 3,000-6,000 pastors every year. The conference is a time of refreshment, teaching, networking, and well deserved pampering for servants who work tirelessly for the gospel.
Serving that number of people requires approximately 1,500 volunteers who give up their vacation time, free time, and, for some, sleep time to honor these men.
When I make my way to church, I will pray that God will give me strength, grace, and mercy to help me power through the day. I will stand for the bulk of my service, which is tough even on the youngest of us.
After I arrive at the church, I will hop on the volunteer shuttle with other helpers who boast of the number of years they’ve served at the Shepherd’s Conference. The excitement and goodwill are palpable.
By the time evening rolls around, we will gingerly climb up the shuttle, and share our stories with the driver, who is always eager to hear who we met, and from what part of the world they reside. That evening I will drive myself home, and rest for the next day.
Some may say we perform “good works” to gain salvation from God. However, Romans 6:22-23 says, “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NASB)
As I’ve stated in the past, we can do nothing to save ourselves. As a corpse who lies in the street unable to resuscitate himself, we cannot do anything to bring about our salvation—but accept the truth of our sinful state, and acknowledge the work Christ did our on behalf on the cross.
So why do Christians serve the church, each other, and those outside our community? Hebrews 6:10 seems to put it in perspective, it says, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” (NASB)
In his commentary, Hebrews, Pastor John MacArthur says, “A Christian’s works are not what saved him or what keep him saved, but they are evidence of his salvation. As James tells us, faith without works is dead—not alive, not real, not genuine. Our faith is demonstrated by our works (James 2:18, 26). God is not so unfair and insensitive that He fails to see the works of love His beloved children perform. He clearly sees the fruit of our righteousness… Love is a product of faith.”
There’s a lot in that paragraph, but as I understand it, God is pleased when we serve others; it is proof positive of our salvation. It is an emulation of what Christ did while on earth. Christ gave of Himself sacrificially. He labored out of love for people who disliked Him, questioned His intentions, and for those who would eventually follow Him.
Many will say that you don’t have to believe in Christ to do volunteer work. That’s a fair statement because it’s true. But that also is cause for Christians to serve. How would we look if unbelievers volunteered more than Christians do and if we’re caught sitting at home, watching TV?
So, are you thinking of rising, and doing something selfless for others? Think of the many ways to serve: give financially to someone who cannot pay their bills. Become a prayer warrior. Visit a widow, babysit, and make meals. Find someone to disciple or counsel. Send someone a card, or a phone call, and if you’re able, don on your walking shoes and perform labors of love that may tax you physically. As Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (NASB)