Thursday, April 25, 2019


         Should Christians be coerced or otherwise guilted into serving God in a specific manner?  Should giving to the work of the Lord be compulsory?  Is it ever right to assign service based on availability vs. suitability?  

       Interestingly, God answers these questions in a portion of scripture many overlook or merely read over quickly.  In Exodus 35, we find Moses, having been given the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle, offering the people of God the opportunity to serve God according to their calling and gifting.  

Exodus 35:4-5  Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded.   Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD's contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; 

Notice what Moses did not say: "Dig deep and show God how much you love Him!"  "The more you give, the bigger the blessing from God you will release!"  "Nobody else is doing the work I am doing, so you need to give to this ministry!"

 Notice what Moses does say: Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD's contribution

Exodus 35:10  “Let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the LORD has commanded: 

Everything is not for everybody              

     Everyone has a crucial part to play, a role to fulfill, a specific function in the body of Christ.  As the Apostle Paul said:
 1 Corinthians 12:12-15  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 

         So we all participate in the Great Commission but we do not all participate in the same manner.  As in the Exodus passage above, there are those who are called to give and will do so out of joy.  There are those who are skilled in various ways, these are called to serve according to their ability.  

         If everyone is serving and contributing according to their God given design, each will feel fulfilled in service and the work will not be a burden.

         Few things will destroy your spiritual life quicker than attempting to serve outside your calling.  

Pitfalls to avoid:

1. Availability does not equal ability 

     Do not allow someone to bully, coerce, or manipulate you into a        task or service to which you have not been called nor equipped.        By allowing someone to fill your free time with a service you 
      are not called to, you will not have time to pursue things to
      which you are called. You will experience burnout, frustration
       and dissatisfaction and soon begin questioning God's goodness.
       If you do not feel called, just say no!

2. Avoid compulsory giving

       The Bible teaches two very important concepts when            it         comes to giving: 
       1.God loves a cheerful giver.  
       2. The principle of the tithe
        These principles are God led.  Just like any other service to 
        which we are called, God will provide the resources.  Tithing 
        is a contract between you and God where you trust God with 
        10% of your income and God promises to provide your needs.
        Tithing has nothing to do with being obligated to give to a 
         local church or ministry.  It may mean buying groceries for a 
         needy family supporting a missionary.

          If you give because you have been pressured or otherwise  
          coerced you are giving for the wrong reason and possibly to             the wrong place.  

3. Do not allow others to decide your calling, gifts or purpose

     Your relationship with God is personal.  Your gifts, calling and          talents are unique.  When you are operating in your God given 
      gifting, there is no greater joy or contentment.  Unless you hear
      clearly from God, it is ok, even wise, to hold back and wait.  
      God will reveal your gifts to you in due time. When a person 
      tells you what they think your calling is, it should confirm what
      you already believe or suspect. 

None of this excuses you from getting out of your comfort zone.  Nothing grows in the comfort zone. In fact, we are commanded by scripture to encourage people out of the comfort zone and into serving: 1 Thessalonians 5:14  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 

     We are to encourage people to serve, though, not necessarily how to serve.  That is the difference.  Yes, we are commanded, in scripture, to give, serve and fellowship.  What we are not commanded to do is give, serve or fellowship outside of God's directing.  

     As a born again believer, you are indwelt by the Spirit of God and, therefore, have direct communication with the Father.  The early church was devoted to the apostles' teaching, prayer and fellowship and so should we be.  If you are putting the time in to study God's Word and pray, I promise you, you will hear from God.

   Do not allow a minister or spiritual leader to replace the Holy Spirit.  If you find a spiritual leader who seems to contradict what you are hearing from God, run, don't walk to the nearest exit.

  Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Not because following Jesus is a cake walk but because He will empower and equip you to follow as He directs.  If you are struggling in service, you may not be serving according to God's plan for your life. 

    Few things could be more tragic than a life spent pursuing something God never intended for you. God desires your life to be filled with joy, peace and contentment.  If you are serving according to your design, joy, peace and contentment will be the natural fruit of your labors.  Proverbs 3:5 Trust in Yehovah with all your hear and lean not on your own understandings, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

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