Look up! Upward service (9 Feb 2020)

To say that 2020 starts off badly is an understatement. In January, disasters include deadly bushfires, killing of Iran’s Soleimani, downing of Ukraine plane, locust invasion in eastern Africa, Taal volcano eruption, Turkey earthquake, Kashmir avalanche, Indonesia floods, and the Wuhan coronavirus. Fear abounds. We need to look up!

There are also personal tragedies, suffering, illness and brokenness. My colleague (also, ex-student) has a son with severe disabilities and needs help to eat. Yet, the parents serve the Lord with joy!

In our BC banner, right in the middle we have ‘Serve Christ.’ Jesus says, ‘If anyone serves me, he must follow me…; if anyone serves me, the Father will honour him’ (John 12:26). What is involved?

Our service is not outward but upward. Ministry that is precious is often not seen: the personal visitation, the private intercession, the walking with another, bound up with the divine appointments that God gives.

Secondly, upward service is from the heart. When visiting those in hospital, I have taken out the glass shreds from the hair of one who was involved in an accident, rubbed moisturiser, soothed fears. Many of us have served in this way, looking after the needs of others with love and caring from the heart.

Is service about giftedness? We may use our gifts to serve the body of Christ. However, service is not about our giftedness but our gratitude. Our gratitude for the opportunities God gives us. In short, we don’t have to serve. We get to serve. What a difference that makes!

We know that serving God is not always smooth. At times, it can be painful, or discouraging, or challenging. The 12 disciples have very different temperaments. Jesus taught them and focussed on acts that build their character. Serving in committees – it is not the work that matters most, it is character building. God is interested to do a work in us as we serve.

Finally, upward service is serving God on His terms, not ours. We look to the Lord to open doors of Kingdom opportunities. It is about understanding what the will of the Father is.

We could look to God on what is our life-mission, think about our God-given passions, God-honouring priorities and God-directed plans.

An example: Living Waters Village, the children, volunteers, local leaders serve with their hearts, on God’s terms, because of gratitude. It is hard to prepare meals for hundreds, lead Bible study, wash the dishes, paint the houses, etc.

Serving Christ means to follow Him. Following Jesus means what is important to Him should be important to us. His values must be ours.

Serve because of gratitude; Serve with heart   

Serve on God’s terms;  Follow Jesus!


Deacon Dr Vivien Ler