Spiritual Gifts, pt. 5, Serving

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Spiritual Gifts, pt. 5

Serving

Rom. 12

 

 

Everyone has a unique mixture of 2 or more gifts, producing a unique shade that God can use in a unique way in the body of Christ. 

Any confusion about yours?  Has spouse taken it for you?

 

Scores way high or way low?  Doesn’t matter…it's perspective that matters.  What are the highest, even if you were hard on yourself?

 

Definition/Description/Dangers (potential liabilities)

 

Exciting to learn about ourselves, and each other.

(that person:  they’re not difficult…just different)

 

Definition of Gift of Servant/Ministry/Helps:  The motivation to help others by meeting physical and practical needs, often behind the scenes.

 

Kitchen/ushering/chair crew/taking food/greeters/helper in children’s ministry/nursery/sound engineer…etc.

 

Won’t receive much if any recognition…and don’t need it.  They are content to be faithful and to know they’re making a difference.

 

We’re all supposed to be servants to some degree.  Jesus said he that is greatest will be the servant.  We should all strive to enlarge our servant’s hearts.  That’s why we should all have a ministry…take it in—burn it up…it’s only healthy! [Michael Phelps]

 

Ill.—sea of Galilee vs. Dead Sea

Inlet and outlet               no outlet…it’s a taker, not a giver.

 

Takers are the most miserable people on the planet!

 

Timothy is our example of a servant (Apostle Paul’s “workfellow”)

        End of II Tim. Paul asked him to bring him his coat, his parchments, his books (run errands)

 

The Greek word diakonia can mean deacon, servant, or minister in Rom. 12.

 

Acts 6, the original deacons did what?  Served tables…they distributed food to widows (first kitchen committee!)

 

For that reason, any and all deacons should have this gift of serving…though this gift is certainly not limited to deacons.

 

A common misconception about this gift of serving is that it is less spiritual since it deals w/ material needs, rather than spiritual needs.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

        We could have all our ducks in a row professionally for services, but if no one cleans or does maintenance it will be a royal mess.

        I could study all week to preach, but you won’t hear it w/out a servant in the back making it loud enough.  (talk about a thankless job…no one looks at you unless you made a mistake!)

        We can do all we want to invite young families to come, but if their children aren’t taken care of in the nursery, they won’t be back.

        We can plan a social for after church, but if no one is in the kitchen, we’d all sit at the tables and starve!

 

We should all strive to be servants...even leaders!  I'd rather be a doorkeeper!  For all eternity we'll serve God, w/ joy!  Why not start now?  By love we're all commanded to serve one another. 

 

Description:

 

  1. An alertness to and awareness of practical needs

 

They don’t step over trash.  They see what needs to be done, usually w/out even being told.

They see those dishes and just wash them.  They see the trash in the parking lot and pick it up (pull that weed) rather than complain about it.  And then, they need no credit for what they've done.  And because they don't need it, we often make the mistake of not giving it.  Name some servants around here who don't care if they are named...because God wants us to thank them!  [sound/nursery/childrens/maintenance/food/mowing/pull weeds/paint/musicians!/deacons/office/bank depositor/ushers/make cookies/go on visitation/disciple and counsel/treasurer counting VBS pennies!

 

  1. Motivated to meet needs quickly…they can’t stand delays

They don’t like to have a meeting to formulate and talk about it…just get it done!

 

Broken window:

 

The administrator is looking for someone to delegate it to

The teacher is trying to learn from it

The exhorter is motivating someone to help

The prophet is figuring out who to blame

The giver is donating for a new window

The mercy giver is crying

And meanwhile, the servant already has it cleaned up, boarded up, and is on to the next project!

 

  1. Work to meet needs w/ disregard for personal weariness

This is where we as Pastors have to be very careful not to take advantage of a servant.  People w/ this gift will burn themselves out if we let them.  They have much difficulty saying a little 2 letter word:  “no”. [burnout]

        I recommend a rotation whenever possible, to help alleviate the burden…but most churches I’ve grown up in or been a part of, if you drove a vehicle it was every week…in nursery—every week!  And the only way you got out of it was to move out of town, switch churches, or die!

 

  1. Great desire to complete a job once it is started.

When others want to leave on the work day, these say, ah, come on…only a few more hours and we’ll have it all done!

 

5.Enjoy short-term goals, but long-term goals frustrate them.

 

Dangers:

 

  1. Tendency to exclude others

 

“I can do it faster myself”…which robs someone else of the blessing of helping them.  Sometimes has trouble cooperating w/ others. 

Servants:  you need to learn to be a team-player, try to delegate.

D.L. Moody—I’d rather get 100 men to work than to do the work of 100 men.

 

  1. Quickness in meeting needs sometimes makes them appear pushy.

 

Since the servant works w/out personal weariness, they think EVERYONE ought to work just that way.  And when everyone doesn’t work that way, they look on them as lazy and unmotivated.  [this is the point of learning about the gifts of others, and not just our own]

 

  1. Eagerness in serving makes some suspicious of them having a motive of self-advancement.

 

Common statements:  (usually unfair and untrue)

They always have to be in the middle of everything.

Always trying to score points w/ the preacher.

Well, I guess they think they’re the only ones qualified.

(judging motives)

The true test of a servant is how you respond when you are treated like one.  Are you under authority?  Are you submissive?  Then serve with no looking back.

 

I know, perception is reality, so do what you can to not appear that way…but beyond that, blow it off.  Besides, you’ll get a lot done while they’re still talking about you!

        As w/ any of these gifts, to be most effective, you have to become immune to the criticism that WILL come.  Just be aware of your liabilities, do your best, and blow off unfounded criticism like water off a duck’s back.

 

Only 1 way to avoid all criticism:  don’t ever do anything!

        Where there’s motion…there’s friction!

 

  1. Quickness in meeting needs of others may interfere w/ spiritual lessons God is trying to teach that person.

 

You have to be sensitive to what God is doing in their life. 

Some need to learn how to do that job for themselves.  You can help them, teach them, or watch them do it, but it's better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish.

Some people’s financial need is because of their own negligence (lack of character)…and God allows some to come to a point of lack in order to teach them valuable lessons.

You must prayerfully discern when to help and when not to…you never want to undermine their motivation to help themselves!  Some need to suffer a little lack before we step in and be their safety net.

 

  1. Enjoyment in short-range goals can lead to frustration in achieving the big vision in the long term.

 

Servants:  The body of Christ could never function properly w/out you.  I take my hat off to you tonite…and I know you don’t do what you do for recognition, but here it is anyway!  [let congregation name its own servants]

        Some of us have our rewards right now…but you will be richly rewarded one day!

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