Beyond Sunday - Week 19

Beyond Sunday
Week of June 2, 2024,
“The ‘Therefore…’ of Service” 
When in Rome Week 18Romans 12:1-8

Thoughts: When I was no more than 6 years old, my father had me help him with a project to make our lives better. In the process of creating a full basement where there was once only a crawl space under our home, we built a new cinderblock foundation. Dad began by giving me a gift, my own little mason’s trowel, only about 5-6 inches long. Then he patiently instructed me in how to use that gift to apply cement to one end of each cinder block, in preparation for his positioning it in the developing foundation wall. Once I mastered the use of that gift, that little trowel, Dad would set several blocks on end for me to then apply the cement to one end while he prepared to lay them in place on the previous row of blocks.

Honestly, he could have done the job faster without me. He didn’t really need my help, so why then did my dad have me help him? Because he wanted me to experience the joy and satisfaction of a purposeful job well done, of creating something. He wanted to teach me skills that I could use for my own benefit, and for the benefit of others. He wanted to involve me in his work, in his life. He wanted to spend time with me, his son. He wanted to build our relationship.

This was only one of many home-improvement projects Dad involved me in; only one of the tools he gifted me, and the skills he taught me. I think of Dad with fondness and gratitude every time I use one of those tools and/or skills to improve my own life, that of my family, or the lives of others.

I think our heavenly Father is much the same. I believe God doesn’t need our help to accomplish His purposes, to build His church. He could speak into existence whatever thing He wants to create or purpose He wants to fulfill. He gives each of us spiritual gifts we can use to “help” Him in His work—to serve Him and to serve others—because it helps build relationships, ours with others, and ours with Him.

Read: Luke 22:25-27, Mark 10:45, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Matthew 7:21-23, Colossians 3:23-24 

Discussion Questions:

• In the passages above from Luke and Mark, Jesus points out that He “…did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life…” Yes, Jesus died for us. And before that, He LIVED for us, to serve His Heavenly Father’s will by serving mankind.
o What do you learn about the triune God—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—from this? What emotions does it trigger in you? How can you channel that energy into your worship and your serving?
o How specifically might you apply “…the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves…” in your own life?
• As Pastor Troy pointed out, there are a variety of spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit, and many ways to use them in serving. The apostle Paul emphasizes that those gifts are given “…for the common good.”
o What are your spiritual gifts?
o How are you (or could you be) employing your gifts in service to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom?
o Explain how using your gifts to serve has (or could) enhance your relationships, with God and with people.
• In that verse above from Matthew’s gospel, Jesus’ warning applies to people who say “Lord, Lord,” and yet their spiritual life has no discernable impact on their daily life. They go to church, perhaps fulfill some daily religious duties, yet sin against God and man as if they knew nothing of Him and the transformational power of His Word. Even though they may do things for God, they aren’t really doing things with God. They may know about Jesus, but have no relationship with Him, or at best a very shallow one.
o How has your relationship with Jesus transformed your life?
o How are you (or could you be) growing in your relationship with Jesus?
• When you serve, how does your serving reveal your whole-heartedness? How does (or should) imagining that you are directly serving Jesus Christ affect your efforts at your daily work, or your volunteer service?

Pray: Thank God for the spiritual gifts with which He has blessed you. Ask Him to open doors and create opportunities to be even more fruitful in the exercise of your gifts. Prayerfully open your heart and mind to receive whatever additional gifts and/or opportunities He may have for you. Ask the Holy Spirit for the power to use your gifts diligently, imaginatively, and enthusiastically to glorify God and to help build His Kingdom.

Next Steps:

• If you don’t know what are your spiritual gifts, or just want to learn more, use this online Spiritual Gifts Survey.
• If you have not yet completed RHC’s Growth Track, sign up for the next session here.
• The Christian life is all about relationships. We are better together, and healing comes when we gather in a community of others who want to think and act like Jesus. If you are not already in a RHC Small Group, join one today by going to the website or the RHC App.

1 Comment

Harry - June 8th, 2024 at 5:14pm

Good stuff Michael. I find myself often choosing the easy way of work, when providing opportunity for my children to help seems too slow for my busy pace. Praise God, He is not like that! He is patient beyond measure. He invites us to labor with him, not because he needs us, but because he loves us and wants us to have great purpose and joy in the things he's called us to.