You don’t have to serve God. You get to.

by Mar 8, 2017

You don’t have to serve God. You get to.

by Mar 8, 2017

You don’t have to serve God. You get to.

by Mar 8, 2017

A while ago, a man I know was invited to the White House for a meeting with President Bush. He didn’t complain that he had to fly all the way across the country. He didn’t complain that he had to pay for his own plane ticket and his own hotel. He didn’t complain that he had to go through White House security for an hour, then wait in a room for an hour, then wait another hour because the president was running behind in his schedule. He didn’t complain that he only had a few seconds to meet the president, and then he could only say a few words in the meeting. He was in the White House. He was serving the President.

And that’s just the president.  Bush was gone a few years later. Now he sits around his house, painting pictures of his feet in the bathtub. The president of the United States is just a guy, but it’s still an incredible honor to serve him.

We get to serve the King of the Universe. The one who created everything. The one who already owns everything. What could we ever do for him that he couldn’t do for himself, and 1000 times better than we could ever do it? Have you ever thought about how much God has to lower himself to let us serve him? Have you ever thought about how much he’s got to lower the bar for our feeble efforts to serve him?

It’s like when your kids want to make you breakfast in bed. At first, you think, “Awwwwww… that’s so awesome!” But then you think, “Wait a minute. What kind of mess is there going to be in the kitchen?” And then when the food comes, you think, “What kind of salmonella am I going to get from these runny eggs?” And then you say, “Actually kids, why don’t I make breakfast for us all?” It’s a lot easier for you to just do it yourself.

Why wouldn’t it be the same for God? It would be way easier, and way better for him to do everything himself. But he’s given us the privilege of serving him. It’s an honor.

King David sure thought so. There’s a great little story in 1 Chronicles 29 of the time when David took up an offering to build the temple. He knew God won’t let him build it, but he wanted to get all the money raised so his son Solomon could build it when God gave him the green light. David contributed 3,000 talents of his own gold (that’s 4 billion dollars at today’s prices!) and then he passed around the offering plate to the other leaders in Israel:

The leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work.  They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly. (1 Chronicles 29:6-9)

They gave willingly. They offered freely. They gave with a whole heart. In other words, they’re not getting guilt-tripped into this. They’re serving the Lord with gladness. They’re giving away 7 billion dollars with joy! And here’s why:

David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-11)

That’s why they’re so happy to be giving to God: because it all belongs to God anyway. He owns your money, your house, your car, your mind, your emotions, your time, and your energy. He loaned all those things to you, and sometimes he wants some of them back.

That seems pretty reasonable to me. What if your buddy loaned you his Lamborghini while he was on the mainland for a week? You drive a Lamborghini around town all week, racing from one stop light to the next. You’re driving a Lambo! Would you complain at the end of the week when he stopped by and asked for it? Never. In the same way, God’s given you some incredible things, so it’s a joy to use them for a while, and then a joy to give them back. That’s because, as David says, “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (verse 12).

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]God never asks you to give him anything that he didn’t give you first.[/perfectpullquote] God never asks you to give him anything that he didn’t give you first. That’s a simple truth that’s so easy for us to forget. David could be saying, “I got all this money because I’m such a great warrior. I conquered all these other countries, and that’s where this money came from. The other leaders could be saying, “I got all this money because I’m such a great businessman. I worked hard. I saved a lot. I made some really smart investments. That’s where this money came from.

When you have that kind of perspective on your possessions, it’s really hard to give up your possessions, but David says, “Both riches and honor come from you.” It might look like we made this money for ourselves, but we know you gave us this money. And so it’s a joy to give it right back. Especially since we know we didn’t deserve it in the first place! David says, “Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you” (verse 14).

Who am I? I’m a sinner. I don’t deserve all the things you’ve given me, Lord. I deserve your judgment, but you gave me your blessing anyway. And so, “of your own hand we have given you.” We’re just taking things out of your right hand, and putting them right back into your left hand.

What an amazing perspective. When you understand hat you don’t deserve anything in life except for death, and that anything you get in life that’s better than death is a gift straight from God, then it’s really easy for you to let go of the things in life that you used to hold on to. Your money. Your time. Your energy. Your pride. Your dignity. It’s really easy to give, serve, and sacrifice. Because you know you’re not really the giver in the relationship. God is. You’re always the getter.

You don’t have to serve the Lord. You get to.