Day 29: Accepting Your Assignment – 40 Days of Purpose-Driven Life

Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God

Point to Ponder: Service is not optional.

Verse to Remember: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” — Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

Question to Consider: What is holding me back from accepting God’s call to serve him?

[Read More] thoughts on Day 29 of Rick Warren‘s Purpose-Driven Life* including why service is one of those “Circle of Life” things.

For some reason I was humming the theme from Disney’s Lion King earlier this week, and I puzzled over how a lion could live out the command to “never take more than you give.” I still don’t know, but I agree with Rick that we humans, at least, “were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it:”

* You were created to serve God (when you serve others, you’re actually serving God)
* You were saved to serve God (not by service, but for service)
* You are called to serve God (use your God-given abilities to help others)
* You are commanded to serve God

I love this quote used to welcome new believers in China: “Jesus now has a new pair of eyes to see with, new ears to listen with, new hands to help with, and a new heart to love others with.” As Rick says, “We grow up in order to give out.”

At this point, it is very tempting to launch into a rant about how the American church has substituted a “serve us” mentality for “service.” However, that would only be a half-truth. For one thing, many of the churches who make such a rant tend to themselves i) be legalistic, and ii) have a very narrow view of service (usually just one of: evangelism, social action, foreign missions, giving money). And people who to go “serve us” churches to escape that are arguably trading up!

The point — as usual, for me — is that both passive indulgence and top-down legalism misrepresent the true nature of grace. The point of grace is to simultaneously:

* show us acceptance despite sin, and
* help us live abundant lives by removing sin.
It is something of a paradox, but it is essential to affirm both aspects lest we fall off the ‘radical middle’ path into either “cheap grace” or “cheap law.”

The larger point, of course, is where we started: true happiness comes from fulfilling our purpose, not being comfortable. That, to me, is the greatest miracle of Christianity: that we can be free to give ourselves to others without any expectation of direct reward, yet in the firm hope of ultimate reward. That, to me, is what it means to “give more than we take”, and is in fact the only way I can see to create an enduring, Cascading Spiral of Life.

Prayer: God, I do believe that my true happiness comes in giving my life away, not trying to save it… most of the time. Help me to meditate your Word, and your Name, so that I might understand how to truly live a life of sustainable service. Not powered by guilt or shame, but by Love. I ask this in the Name of Jesus, by whom all things are possible, Amen.