Service is paramount in Christianity, as believers are saved to serve the Lord. We are basically saved from being slaves to the devil to being slaves to the Lord.
Therefore, serving in the Lord’s ‘vineyard’, wherever that may be – at a church as a worker, on the missions field, on the evangelism team, etc. – is a must for a believer.
But picture a man who goes to work at a construction site, and gets assigned to a job detail by the foreman, and gets to work. But at the end of the day, he gets no salary for his work. Why? Because he was never hired for the job. He had failed to first of all go to the Human Resources department to apply for the job and get hired.
This is similar to serving in the Lord’s vineyard without ever getting hired first. Without first becoming a servant of His. Without first receiving Him as one’s Savior and Lord.
Now of course we’d like to believe that everyone serving the Lord in some capacity has at least already accepted Him as their Lord. So the big question then is: Are most believers still saved? After receiving the Lord and getting saved from sin, did they remain free from or have most gone back to living in sin, even though they are strong and very active members of a church?
Some of the scariest passages of Scriptures are where the Lord denies entry into heaven to people who thought for sure that they merited to get into heaven. Here’s one such passage:
““But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’” (John 13:27, NIV)
So it is VERY POSSIBLE to serve in the Lord’s vineyard WITHOUT ACTUALLY being in His service. Why? Because the kind of service that He requires first and foremost is not being rendered by the believer.
And what kind of service is that? Spiritual service. Service done within oneself. Our relationship with the Lord is based within our beings, in our hearts and in our spirits because that is:
- Where we belong to Him, or not;
- Where we love Him, or not;
- Where we obey and keep His commandments, or not;
- Where we love all men, or not;
- Where we keep ourselves pure and holy, or not;
That is where we decide everyday whether we want to remain spiritually – therefore, truly – employed in His vineyard, or not.
So many will kill themselves trying to serve the Lord with all their might, showing up for choir practice rain or shine, spending long hours walking the streets passing out gospel tracts, cleaning up the church and making sure the senior pastors’ needs are met, etc…
But if they do all this while being imperfect in their hearts towards the Lord, while living in some sin, while having lost their salvation…. ‘Depart from me…’ is what they might hear.
Many serve because they heard a message on ‘service’ that moved them into deciding to serve. Some serve to be seen as faithful workers in the church. Some do because they truly want to serve the Lord.
All that is commendable here on earth. But to the Boss in heaven, all that is insignificant if we don’t first of all serve Him in Spirit and in truth! The Boss Himself made this plain when He said:
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 (KJV)
Please, my brother or sister, don’t be working for the Lord in vain. Make sure that you are serving Him in the way that truly matters to Him, by having a Father-child relationship with Him and walking in His holiness. This is what He truly desires and wants from us.