A Fervent Follower... Serves
Jesus Christ came into the world and took upon himself the role of a servant. He lived his life focused on helping other people (Phil.2:5-11). He then boldly declared that being a servant was the way to true greatness in the kingdom of God (Mk 9:33-37; 10:35-45). Jesus then called his followers to be like him - servants. By love, we are all to serve one another (Gal.5:13).The BIG Audit
When this life is over we will be asked two basic questions:
- What did you do with Jesus Christ?
- What did you do with your life - your time, resources and energy?
The answer to the first question is a "salvation issue" - a matter of life and death, heaven and hell. The answer to the second question is a "stewardship issue" - God is looking for a return on his investment in our lives and we will be rewarded based on our fruitfulness.
We know that God's love for us is unconditional, in that it is not based on our goodness or our performance. It is based solely on his grace and his choosing. We are his children and he loves us just because we are his. However, it is one thing to be "loved by" God. It is another thing to "please" God (Mt.3:17. 1 Cor.10:5).There are many things that please God - including obedience, fruitfulness, faith (Heb.11:6), and generosity (Phil.4:18).
One thing that pleases God very much is when we use our gifts and abilities to serve other people in love. One thing that displeases him greatly is when we neglect the gifts and abilities he has given us and live selfishly. We see this clearly illustrated in the parable Jesus told about the "talents" (Mt.25:14-30). Each person will be held accountable for what they have been given. We are not judged by how much he has given us (compared to others) but by what we do with what we have been given. God sees and he rewards our efforts, no matter how insignificant they may seem to us (Mk.9:41. Heb.6:10).Your Life Purpose
God has created you to experience community (or close relationship) with him and others. You are significant because he created you and you belong to him. He has also created you to make a contribution to the world. You have a mission from God. Yes, God gives every one of his followers a mission. He has saved and called you for a special purpose (2 Tim.1:9). God now pours out his Spirit on all people regardless of gender, race, age or social status (Acts 2:17-18). God wants to use everybody, not just special select people.
Your life purpose is multi-dimensional and is outworked in three primary areas: your family, your church and your world. There is a delicate and appropriate "balance" to be achieved for each person (based on their unique situation, calling and stage of life) between these three important spheres.God's Plan for You
We can learn a number of lessons from the calling of Jesus' first disciples (Mt.4:18-22).
- God wants you on His team.
Jesus said, "Come, follow me." Jesus was preparing to build his church, a group of people filled with the power of the Holy Spirit who would reach out and change their world. He decided not to do all the work himself even though he could of. He selected other people to be part of his team.
God gives each one of his followers an opportunity to be participants on his team by giving them spiritual gifts with which to contribute. When we contribute, we find fulfilment and we experience the joy of being a co-builder of his eternal kingdom.
The New Testament teaches us that EVERY follower of Jesus is a part of the "body of Christ", has one or more spiritual gifts, has a specific job to do and has a direct affect on the health and growth of the church (see 1 Cor.12-14. Eph.4:11-16. Rom.12:1-8. 1 Pet.4:10).
- God sees what you can become.
Jesus said, "I will make you fishers of men." He saw not just what they were, but what they could become. These fishermen were unexpected choices and unlikely heroes. However, Jesus focused on their potential, not their past. He gave them hope and a vision. You too can have a significant ministry, though not necessarily prominent. You can make a difference in someone's life. You can do something to build God's kingdom. You have potential to do great things for God.
- God takes full responsibility for your success.
Jesus said, "I will make you ..." He committed his time to work with them, to give them responsibility, to train them, to encourage them and to develop their potential. He never gave up on them despite their failures. He prayed for them and supported them all the way through. His whole life focus was serving them. What God has placed within you, he will draw out. You are his workmanship. As a team member, he will spend time with you to help you find your place and be the very best you can be.
- You have to make a commitment to Him.
In response to Jesus' call to, "Come, follow me", they had to let go of what was in their hand and follow him. They had to step out of the crowd and on to Jesus' team. Jesus was limited without ministry commitment. He would do #1-3 only IF they did #4. The harvest is plentiful - the labourers are few. Jesus gave his disciples a challenge and a chance to be involved.
- You will be rewarded for the work that you do.
Jesus taught his disciples that they would be greatly rewarded for their efforts (Mt. 16:27; 25:14-30). We are saved by grace, through faith, not of works, lest any should boast. However, we are created to do good works and we will be rewarded according to our works (Eph.2:8-10. 1Cor.3:10-15). Reward will not be given for position, title, gift or function, but according to what we've done with what we've been given.
Our church has an incredible mission from God. It is huge and very significant for the advancement of God's kingdom. This mission will only be achieved as each individual person fulfils his or her own mission and contributes to the overall task. In fact, your personal mission finds its true significance as part of the church's overall mission. Imagine a church where everyone became a servant, found their spiritual gift and started using it. What an impact we could make together!Sample Discussion Questions
- Ask each person in their group to share what spiritual gifts they believe they have been given [this can include what they are passionate about and the kind of things they enjoy doing]. After each person shares, have others in the group confirm these or affirm other gifts that they may not have yet recognised themselves. This can be an excellent time of encouragement and affirmation. Be sensitive to the fact that some may not know what their gifts are. Try to draw them out and have others share what they see in them.
- Discuss the right balance of family, church and workplace responsibilities. What are some of the tensions? What are some of the extremes to avoid? What are some keys to finding the right balance? Again, some good questions to get people sharing about some key issues in their life.
- Ask anyone who is a CityLife volunteer to share what they do, why they do it and what their ministry means to them. This is a great opportunity to lift up the value of volunteerism by honouring those involved in various ministries in the church.
- Have a discussion on various ways that Life Group members could serve or help more in the Life Group.
- Have copies of the Ministry Opportunity Brochure (MOB) available. See if there are any people who are not involved as a volunteer and would like to be. Maybe they could talk with you after the meeting to discuss where they could start. Also, highlight the middle section of the brochure where there is a list of urgent current needs. Why not ask your group to consider helping out in one of these areas. Finish with a time of prayer about each person adopting a greater "servant mentality".