To serve or consume 

By Viki Johnson​
I was facilitating a small group this morning, full of energetic seven-year-olds. We were talking about prayer and different things we can pray for. We talked about how we can ask God for things—there was a unicorn and a dragon on the list of things needed. This moved onto God not always giving us what we ask for. I asked the group why they thought that was. One of the boys spoke up with this: “That would turn the table. God is not our slave; we are His servants. If God always did whatever we asked, the table would be flipped”. He was so confident and thoughtful.

This precious child spoke such truth—I wonder how many adults would have had that answer. God is not our slave or maybe our magic genie, He is God almighty and it is our job to serve Him.

Our society is all about consumerism: “What is in it for me? “What do I get out of it? “What’s the next version?” Everything we do seems to be based on how it makes us feel. The classic line, “If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it,” seems to be everywhere, even in our churches. Comments like, “that’s not my gifting, so I can’t help”. Or “I don’t have time”, “it doesn’t bring me joy”, or even, “I don’t want to do that”, are disappointing to hear.


Imagine if Jesus had said any of these comments.  We would be in a whole lot of trouble with no future hope at all.   Instead, Jesus was the example for us. Mark records Jesus’ words in Chapter 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  If anyone should have been served on this earth, it was Jesus. Yet, so many of us can’t be bothered to come early to church to set up or make cups of tea for fellow believers.  We come to church to be served, to sit and relax. 

Our churches are full of spiritually gifted people, people that can make a difference to the way the church runs, or maybe the love someone feels.  As a Pastor, I seem to have so much to do, and when someone approaches me and offers to serve with me, my heart is lifted.  On Sunday, I had two people approach me to help in serving our youth in a local school and someone else offered to help with the children’s programme on Sundays.  Not only was I thrilled to have someone offer their support but I could see that they wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  I was excited and so were they.  Of course, those of us who hold positions of responsibility need to be open to people helping and being involved. We need to be ok with people doing things differently, and maybe making it their own. I must remember not to hold onto things too tightly. We need to encourage and excite fellow Christians to serve.  Even if you don’t really need the help, welcome them with open arms.  This might be the first step to them finding their spiritual calling to serve.  

We need to remember that this world is not our home—heaven is our home. In John 16:33, Jesus says: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  This world is not all about you. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to serve ourselves or to only do what feels good or only what we enjoy. It is about serving the King of Kings, it is about serving and loving others. “Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind”. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: “Love your neighbour as yourself.’”  Matthew 22:37-39 

Church is a place to bless and be blessed. Imagine a place where everyone looks out for each other and serves each other—a place where our joy was found in the commandments of Jesus Christ. 

Viki is the Children’s Pastor at Raleigh St Christian Centre, Cambridge