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Contribute More Than Consume


servanthood

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14 NIV)


We live in a consumer culture. This Friday is Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year as consumers hit the stores for deals on Christmas gifts. Advertising drives entertainment of all kinds, including television, radio, social media and signs along the highway. If we will just use the right toothpaste all our troubles will be solved. We want what we want and we want it NOW. So we order it on Amazon prime with two-day shipping, or upgrade to overnight shipping if we want it tomorrow.


But the things of the world do not give us satisfaction and purpose. When we get the "more" we chase after, we find that it's not enough. There is always more to desire and chase. This is at least partly what the Apostle Paul means when he urges us not to use our freedom to indulge the flesh. Life does not become meaningful with more and better stuff. Life becomes more meaningful with deeper relationships of love - especially love from and love for Jesus Christ.


The antidote for this consumeristic indulgence in the flesh is, as Paul says, "...rather serve one another humbly in love."


The way to greater purpose in life is the way of servanthood. The path to greater meaning in life is the path of serving others. My life is not all about me. It's all about honoring God by loving Him with all my life and loving my neighbor as myself. You can serve without loving, but you cannot love without serving.


And so a core value at Grace Church, where I serve as Lead Pastor, is to "Contribute more than consume." We serve one another within the congregation, and we serve others in the community. We serve one another in our families, and we serve together as families where God assigns by the prompting of His Holy Spirit.


Even worship is about contributing, not just consuming. The average church goer attends worship like attending a concert or play or movie. We come to church to watch the show and to get blessed. But worship is not about my blessing. Worship is about giving honor and glory and praise and love to my Redeemer. Worship is about expressing my love for the God of grace who sent His Son to lay down His life for the sins of the world on the old, rugged cross. Worship is not something I watch, it is something I do.


And so I can worship my Maker when the music is not my favorite choice or the sermon is a foul ball instead of a home run. A few weeks ago, we worshipped at Grace Church with the power off in the city. It was mostly dark in the worship center. We had a few battery powered lanterns people had in their cars, and a generator that powered a couple of construction lights. I used my playground voice because we had no powered sound system. And worship broke out anyway. We baptized two young men and renewed the baptism of another. There was joy in the simplicity of worship without the usual technology.


Worship is not confined to the time we are together on Sunday morning, and it is certainly more than the songs we sing during the service. Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is about living for Jesus and not for myself. A life of worship is a life of serving God and serving others, while trusting that God will provide all I need for a life that is full and rich and thriving. Every act of service is an act of worship.


You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”


And so we contribute more than we consumer at Grace Church, trusting that as we empty our cup by loving others, God will fill it with His love. We know it's not about US, it's about OTHERS, so we find opportunities to SERVE in the church, in the community and in the world. And we find the deep satisfaction and purpose of seeing our lives used by God to build His Kingdom and bless other people in deep ways through simple, humble acts of service.


To God be the glory!


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