Picture a man who goes to work at a construction site, and goes straight to the foreman, gets assigned to a job detail, and gets to work. At the end of the day, he gets no salary for his work. Why? Because he was never hired for the job in the first place. 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. Meaning, without first receiving Him as one’s Savior and Lord.
Service in the kingdom is paramount in Christianity, as believers are saved to serve the King of kings in His kingdom. We are saved from serving in the devil’s kingdom to serving in the Lord’s kingdom. 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, thru your own personal ministry, etc. – is a must for a believer. Every believer is ‘called’ to serve in some very specific capacity in the kingdom.
But salvation is what qualifies an individual to earn a reward for serving in the Lord’s kingdom. This is a crucial matter because like our imaginary construction worker, so many people that are serving the Lord in one way or the other, will do all that work just to end up hearing the Lord say to them “…I never knew you. Depart from me, you that work iniquity!” (Matthew 7:23).
What went wrong for such people? The answer is simply that they were never really saved from sin while they served the Lord. One of the greatest tragedies in this world is the fact that the Church is full of believers who have compromised their salvation so that in the Lord’s eyes, there’s no difference between them and the unsaved, as they still indulge in all the sinful activities they’re supposed to have been saved from. The big question then is: Are most believers truly saved? After receiving the Lord and getting saved from sin, did they remain free from sin 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 because of the service they rendered unto Him on earth. 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 keep ourselves pure and holy, or not.
– Where we obey and keep His commandments, or not.
– Where we love all men, or not.
It is in our hearts and spirits that we decided that we wanted to accept the Lord Jesus as our Lord and savior, and that is where we decide everyday whether we want to remain His property by deciding to keep ourselves holy unto Him and faithfully following His commands. Therefore, it is in our hearts and spirits that we decided whether to remain employed in His vineyard, or not. Because the day we go back to sin, we go back to serving Satan, and all the service we render unto the Lord are not recognized by the Lord. 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 in the end. God forbid!
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 clear 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)
If your life doesn’t give Him glory, your services couldn’t possibly give Him glory. If He hasn’t accepted you, how would He accept your services?
Therefore, brethren, I urge you to reaffirm your commitment to living a life that is pleasing to the Father by serving Him in the way that truly matters to Him, by having a genuine Father-son/daughter relationship with Him, and walking in His holiness and righteousness. That is what He truly desires and wants from us. Ask the Lord to rekindle your passion for His holiness and righteousness, and determine to never go back to living in sin. Live a life that makes you always ready to meet the Lord, so that when you do, it will be to hear Him say to you: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”