Serving Until it Hurts

“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. (Heb. 6:10)”

One of the greatest perspective changing questions we can ask is why? Kids love to ask that question, then we grow up and learn to settle with the status quo because we have learned to accept things the way they are. A child is hungry though, and their worldview is being shaped and they want to know not just what to think but why to think it. I never want to get too “mature” to ask why.

One thing I have learned is that God is not afraid of that question. When God commands something it isn’t irreverent to ask why, unless you only plan on arguing with Him, but even God can use that. He loves to answer His children’s questions because He loves to see His children learn. God says through the author of Hebrews, “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. (Heb. 6:10)

All throughout the Scriptures God commands and exemplifies service to others. The list of passages for that would be too many for this short blog. Hebrews 6:10 gives us some perspective on our service though. God revealed to us that God doesn’t forget our service. There is an end game to His commands.

I would concede that God in all His wisdom only gives us His commands not so that we would be good duty-fulfilling christians, but so that we would be more like Him. God even gives us a supreme model to look to before He calls us to it. Paul the apostle, a man who served Him faithfully said,  “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:6-8)”

God never commands what He is not willing to do Himself. As a matter of fact, His commands are reflections of Himself. Think of them more as an opportunity to come into unity with Himself, becoming more like Him in the process. God commanded Christ even to the point of His own death. There were no limits, no reservations, and no turning back for the Father or Christ.  The service to others is service to God as it is “in His name.” When you do service in His name, you conform by the power of His Holy Spirit to be like His name. 

He called Christ to lay down Himself, even His divine self, to come to earth in obedience in the most costly manner, and now as we follow in His footsteps He calls us to the same. Is this just sadistic? Does God have an ego trip when He does these things or is there something else in store for obedience?

The author of Hebrews tells us later in the epistle, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)” 

The end game of obedience isn’t obedience. That is nothing more than slavery and Christ has set us free for freedom (Gal. 5:1). The cost was Jesus’s life and the return was joy.  “The joy set before him.” Christ was looking ahead. The crucifixion was painful, but the joy was more than worth it. 

There is an endgame to your obedience. There is a dear price to pay for being obedient to Christ, but when God has done His work in you in the paying,  then you have only emptied your account for the supreme dividend of joy.  This isn’t superficial joy that fades, but joy that lasts. Joy that doesn’t just create smiles, but liberation from the tyranny of everything less than in your soul.

When you serve your family until it hurts there is an endgame. When you serve your church at the expense of your ego, there is an endgame. When you serve your wife by laying down your own plans and time, there is an endgame. The end of the matter is, and will always be in the service of Christ – joy. In the laying down of your life, you are imitating and conforming to Christ’s image, and in doing so the effect of that is you share in His joy as well. Endure the pain for the joy is far more than worth it!



Serving Until it Hurts: Article by Chase O'Dell - Founder of Bridgeway Ministries

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