What does it mean to be a Christian? Different Christians would undoubtedly give different answers, based upon the greatest impact Christianity has had on their lives. Some would emphasize salvation. Some would highlight forgiveness, the forgiveness of their sins, the guilt of their sins lifted from their shoulders. Others would emphasize the peace that comes to the Christian who understands that he is “in Christ” and on his way to Heaven. Similarly, still others would focus on having gained a fuller meaning to their lives. Each of these answers would be correct, and all of them together would be correct as well.
Asking the original question a little differently, what does it mean to live a Christian life? Again, different perspectives would be offered based upon different individual experiences and understandings. Some would speak of the spiritual emphasis in their life since they became Christians. Others would speak of faithfulness, taking care to govern their lives by God’s will. Still others would note that a Christian life is a life lived in service to God. Again, each of these answers is correct, and all of them together are correct. The last one is the focus of this article.
What does it mean to live a life of service to God? We again come up with different ideas based upon individual understandings of Christianity by different Christians. Answers would vary based upon personal Bible knowledge, experience and spiritual maturity. But most every answer would offer a similar element, some idea of activeness. The word service naturally carries the idea of action, or activity. A Christian cannot serve God without being active in some way. The degree of activeness would vary from answer to answer, but virtually everyone would emphasize the fact that a Christian has to actively do something in order to serve God.
Different words describe the life of service that a faithful Christian should exemplify, such as “servant” (Matt. 24:46), “slaves” (NKJV, Rom. 6:16) and “minister” (KJV, Matt. 20:28). Each of these, of course, carries the idea of active service, even labor. “Works” is another word that identifies the Christian life as being one of active service (Jas. 2:17).
It is interesting that the Bible teaches the Christian that one way in which he serves God is by serving others (Matt. 23:11). There are many ways in which we can serve others. Some of them are simple. We can brighten the day of a shut-in by paying them a short visit. We can encourage a person struggling with illness by sending them a card with a personal note, or by making a phone call to see how they’re doing.
Sometimes serving others requires more time, energy and resources. Someone’s house may need cleaning. Someone might need grocery shopping to be done for them. Someone might need a ride to see the doctor. Someone might need help with an expense. These are but a few examples of serving God by giving of ourselves to serve others. The opportunities are endless.
Let’s examine ourselves as to how, specifically, we’re serving God. Are we living the life of a servant? Are we ministering to the works that God has given us the opportunity and ability to do? Are we as dedicated to serving God as would be a slave to his master? Do we note ways in which we can serve God by serving others in the name of Christ? The life of a Christian is not one of complacency. In a word, Service is the life of a Christian…
Gary L. Hutchens