screen-shot-2013-06-25-at-144217Why do people serve?
When people serve they can do so for a variety of reasons. Let’s name some:

  • They feel they ought to out of a sense of duty. Nb ‘Ought’ is a dangerous word. Analyse why when you are tempted to do something out of ‘ought-ness’. God loves willingness.
  • They want to please the leader or may even feel sorry for him as he has a problem to solve with inadequate resources
  • They want to be recognised in the church

There could be many other reasons and the above are all negative. I believe the most authentic one is out of a ‘heart’s desire’.

Heart’s Desire
What do I mean by having a heart’s desire to serve? As we have already seen God has given each of us different qualities, skills and attributes. These are all to be used for his glory, maybe for a specific purpose or manner of serving. In Exodus we find a focus on people whose hearts are in tune with God’s.

Let’s look at the context. Having left Egypt the congregation were wandering in the wilderness. Daily the Lord provided food and water. Moses was burning himself out both leading and being judge for all the people to the extent that Jethro, his wise father in law, urged him to delegate the minor disputes to others to solve and to keep his own counsel for the more difficult cases.

Following this the Lord sent Moses up the mountain to receive the ten commandments. This resulted in a lot of detailed laws being established. But there was no focal point for worship. It was at that point that God instructed Moses to make a sanctuary for him (Ex 25:8). He introduces his commission to Moses by instructing him to raise a contribution for this from ‘every man whose heart moves him’ (Ex 25:2). In the next 6 chapters he instructs Moses in minute detail about the building, the fabric, the garments, the ritual practices etc.

The people
In chapter 31 God starts to talk about the workers, the ‘people resource’ that he has given to erect the building and carry out the activity of the tabernacle. It is interesting to note that he again focuses on the hearts of the people as he gave spiritual gifts of craftsmanship e.g. in Ex 31:6 (NASB) ‘in the hearts of all who are skilful I have put skill’. Then we find in Ex 35 and 36 that it is out of the heart’s desire that people came to serve and give e.g. ‘everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the LORD’s contribution’ (Ex 35:21), ‘…everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.’ (Ex 36:2).

What goes on in our hearts is important to God. They are the centre of our emotions and motivation. The Lord puts into each of us a desire to serve in some particular area. He wants a willing people, whether for giving or for action. The Bible makes clear that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7). Also that he is not a slave driver but one who is able to say that we are his friends if we do what he commands us. (Jn 15:14).

So, it is the heart response that any leader should be looking for when he is providing opportunity for people to serve. Next time I will give you some specific examples.

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