Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

2.23.2010

Pictures of Praise

A Guest Post by Sarah
We met while still in our mother's wombs (so the story goes), and have been friends ever since. You can find Sarah blogging regularly over at her site, Princess Prints. Enjoy this post and learn a lot--I know I did! (And don't forget to go to yesterday's post and enter our giveaways!)


Service. If I were to ask you what picture just flashed across your mind, what would you say? A black-dressed, ruffled-apron bedecked maid, dusting a grand house? A silver service? Or a loved one who is ‘in the service’? But what picture – of this exact same word – would you see if I were to quote Romans 12:1?

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

You would probably visualize our great heroes of the faith. Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, your grandpa, your sister – people who willingly gave up all comforts and security to lead a life of danger and – more often than not – grief and pain. Yes, we view service to God in a very different light from everyday service, but the question presents itself: What is the real difference between the two?

Webster’s dictionary defines service as either the “condition of a slave” or the “employment as a servant.” In the United States, where we know and believe that “all men are created equal,” this “everyday meaning” is used with certain presuppositions. In the first place, we assume that, although the role of inferiority may be assumed for wages or forced by those who exploit their fellow man for personal gain, the server and the one being served are inherently of equal value, importance, and ability. Secondly, we infer that service is for the betterment or benefit of the one being served. While this definition – and the accompanying assumptions – is quite accurate when referring to the service one man gives to another, it presents several misconceptions when trying to wrap our brains around the meaning of “service to God.”

Of course, as Christians, we would not dare to presume that we are on equal footing with the God of the universe – that assumption is quite obviously dismissed when defining godly service. In addition, we know that God needs no help or assistance from us, His creation (Psalm 50:12). But if our service to God is not at all helpful or necessary for Him, what is it for? And what does Paul mean when he speaks of our “reasonable service”? According to Strong’s concordance, the Greek word used for service in Romans 12:1 signifies the “ministrations of God, i.e. worship.”

Yes, worship.
To live for God, to present our bodies as a “living sacrifice”, is the most reasonable and logical way to worship God. All of a sudden, a life of service holds no drudgery. For, to serve God as a slave, while “reasonable” in view of who He is and who we are, usually sparks feelings of being trapped in servitude – it brings to our minds the poor tailors and weavers, farmers and scullery maids of centuries past who were doomed to live, work, and die in the service of aristocracy – servitude which seems unjust because we can do nothing to change it, and have no chance to better ourselves. It is from this mindset that the mentality of the extreme sacrifice and self-denial of those “serving God” is born. Don’t get me wrong, to serve God, to experience the blissful worship of Him by living lives dedicated to Him, does require us to say “no” to many comforts and enjoyments the world has to offer us. But when we compare these passing indulgences to the everlasting joy found in praising and serving – worshiping – the Savior, there should be, there is, no true comparison. It’s like asking a Little if he would rather have a plate of mud, or a thick slice of chocolate cake. “You can only have one or the other,” you say, but he will hardly view going straight for the cake as self-sacrificing, simply because he had to give up the dirt to get it. On the contrary, he will wonder why we even discussed eating such nastiness (even if yesterday, when there was nothing better around, he had mouthfuls of it).

So what is the difference between serving God and serving man? In a word, EVERYTHING! While one requires us to assume a position lower than that which we hold, the other requires us to aspire to the position of service (John 1:27). While one necessitates some sort of reimbursement for the labor given, the other is the rich payment of grace, a privilege granted and joy experienced. That is the difference.

If I were to ask you what picture the word service brought to mind, what would you say? Cleaning house, slavery, or the ‘great, great joy’ of praising an awesome Creator and Savior with every thought, action, and word? What does service mean to you?

1 comment:

  1. Sarah--I couldn't help but comment on your wonderful post. The thought that service is worship is amazing to me, and thought-provoking! I love how you brought it out as the only thing we *can* do! Thanks for writing! (-:

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