If you are serving the Lord, you are entitled to His reward. One does not have to be a pastor or a biblical teacher to serve Him. You do not have to hold a biblical degree to serve Him. Serving Him requires His calling to do whatever He asks you to do in His time, will and guidance. Furthermore, every believer serves Him in the capacity He has given him. If you have faith credited to you as righteousness, you are meant to serve Him through all the things you do. We can all serve the Lord through faith by tuning our bodies into a living and holy sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). God does not call us to serve Him without having prepared the rewards; He is not unjust. Rewards certainly vary from one to another, since our calling to serve also varies. But, His rewards are fulfilling and overflowing.
The apostle Paul, who was also given the titles preacher, teacher and evangelist said, “Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?” (1 Cor. 9:7). Although he was providing an argument to believers concerning the right he has to receive for that which he spent (the gospel), the significant point he makes is the right God availed and avails to all who serve Him in various manners to receive for their service to Him; for it is God who puts us in His service and hence, we are entitled to receive. No one works in an office or at any work place with his or her own provisions. But each one works for a reward or wages. Similarly, we serve the Lord with that which He gifted us in the Spirit to carry out His righteousness. He rewards us for our faithfulness. Whatever is our profession, if we are filled by His Spirit, we serve Him. Through our profession we impact the world for Him. Therefore, He flourishes us in that which we do. Ultimately, what we spend through the calling we received is God’s righteousness by faith.
God pays our expenses to serve Him. He is also the one who causes growth in the work we do so that we have in abundance. He purposely put us in the place we are in order to plant His Christ and reap from the result of it. And we are called for the following. “so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober” (1 Thess. 5:6). Our alertness must be in keeping the faith and carrying out God’s righteousness. To sleep is to ignore the good things God reserved for us. It is to ignore the service we ought to render to Him. It is ignoring His calling and the Word with which He established us. If we continue to sleep, we eventually lose the anticipation of His rewards as well as the knowledge of their significance. The best way to stay awake is to be sober. In other words, check ourselves for any form of impurities on a constant basis and be freed from them through the help of the Spirit. This means it requires obedience to God. It is a basic requirement to serve Him. And for this God has even made the Lord an example to us. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).
God teaches us obedience by allowing us to suffer and it is vital to staying awake. And, Jesus too, though He was His Son, suffered. Jesus being God Himself did not need an introduction to obedience. But that He learned obedience means He accepted the reason to obey God. God willingly allows us to suffer so that we find obedience toward Him. Hence, we face sufferings of various kinds in our endeavor to serve Him. With such experience Paul spoke to the Corinthians of the right God availed him to receive for that which he spent for them. Once we find obedience in its perfection, God uses us for His service. Until that time, though we may assume to have been ready to serve Him, we are still far from it. Our service requires a heart that completely accepts our condition before Him at any given time. With this precept God uses us. So did He use the former ones. “Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.’ Immediately he got up” (Acts 9:34).
What made Peter perform such a magnificent service to God? It is obedience in its completeness. Any service we do to God is magnificent in His sight, because it is He who has begun it, though a small one, and it is He who completes it as a glorious one. Often believers and churches try serving Him inventively. They want to break the cliché. On the contrary, serving Him in any manner requires the backing of the Spirit. Our inventiveness must come from God’s wisdom. Then, our service to Him brings forth the appropriate glory to Him. We all have different professions and each profession requires certain skills. If those skills are powered by the Spirit, we do works and invent things that can only give God glory and make our service complete.
If we are with obedience in its completeness, we are always alert and sober. We never lose the anticipation of the rewards that come for serving Him. Then we serve Him knowing full well the purpose of our calling. As a reminder to our serving Him let us consider a few congruent elements.
- Reverential attitude toward God. “Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY’’” (Luke 4:8). Because God calls us to serve Him in the very profession or work we are in, there is no greater goal for us than to focus on serving Him. We are to serve Him no matter what and for it God provides various avenues.
- God perfects our righteousness. “And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly” (Matt. 1:19). Though as human beings we may feel compelled to protect our righteousness in certain situations, God’s work through us that completes His righteousness in us will take precedence. He never works unrighteousness, but only leads us to perfect our righteousness. Joseph perfected his righteousness by listening to the angel’s message; he kept Mary as his wife. Because you are zealous to carry out His righteousness, He will not let you lose out on perfecting it. Listen to His message and you can serve Him completely.
- A note on disobedience. Untimely disobedience can sometimes appear in us. It tends to prolong its presence in us. If it succeeds, it tries to become a perpetual ingredient in us. Then, in latter times there will be consequences. We lose some of things we diligently worked for, although we can gain them back by realization and through the power of God. It is nonetheless a strenuous process. “Be ashamed, O farmers, Wail, O vinedressers, for the wheat and the barley; because the harvest of the field is destroyed” (Joe. 1:11).