We are Rewarded when We Serve Others
“Service is a Blessing”
This claim perplexed me greatly when I first stepped foot in a church. I heard it from many of the folks there. They seemed to be good people with good intentions. They seemed to be telling the truth. They even seemed to be sincerely trying to help me understand how to be a Christian. The problem was not in the advice or their intentions. It was on my end. I just did not understand how this could be true. I was not a Christian so I did not understand the gratitude that motivates service. But it also did not make sense to me how I would be blessed by cleaning at a church breakfast. How could I gain by giving away my time, money, or talents with nothing tangible in return?
Don’t get me wrong, I knew that working in church was part of the deal. I even felt like I should help out if I wanted to be part of the community. Pitching in to help an organization work well seems reasonable. That is my duty and obligation as part of that group. But it made no sense that I would be privileged to do it. It was work and that involved either getting paid or painful sacrifice. Stacking chairs or taking out the trash need to be done but they involve giving time or effort that I could spend better — like on me, me and me. It is hard work done often for people who often seemed not to notice it.
Service without reward for people who don’t notice seemed to be a complete waste of my time. The math did not add up.
Jesus Calls You to Serve…and Be Blessed
Then Jesus stepped in and completely changed my life. I was saved. I submitted to the Savior who had been calling me for years. My reason for service was changed. How can you not want to bless others after the gift of eternal life? I then set out to learn His ways and eventually teach others His Word.
I now find myself telling others the same thing that so perplexed me. That it is an amazing blessing to serve the Lord. There is nothing in the world better. I truly mean it even when it is in the lowliest job. It is true when no one notices perhaps even more so. I find it is my greatest joy to work for Jesus. I get wonderful blessings working for God.
Doing the day to day labor to bring others to Jesus, work in His churches, serve His people, and labor results in blessings for all of us. There is are rewards for you for cleaning church toilets or feeding the poor. It is a privilege.
So what was I missing originally?
How do you receive blessings when you serve and no one notices you?
How is it gain when you are giving up time, treasure or talents?
It is simple, really. Jesus’ power becomes so much clearer when you are working for HIm. Trust in Him becomes all you have when you lay all you have for Him. If you are intimately involved in work for God relying on God, you get to know God intimately. You also naturally see the results. You will be looking for them if your time, talents, and prayers are attached to the endeavor. You will be desperate for them when the work does not go according to your plans
You will also witness Him doing impossible things. You see hard evidence of the Holy Spirit working. Simply put, when you choose to serve Jesus you are given a front-row seat to watch Him work. Those who choose not to be directly involved in the reaping of seed are less likely to notice the harvest.
God works everyday in this world. He is building His Kingdom among the people of God one transformation at a time. He is just as active as in the days of the Apostles. Yet, many are too focused on other things to see it. It is like being part of a sports team. You have to be willing to do the training and enter the game to experience the joy of winning.
Service may be tiring and even painful at times. Yet, it allows you to grow in ways that are just not possible if you are sitting on the sidelines.
A Hopeless Wedding Problem
This is demonstrated in Jesus’ first miracle. It took place in a somewhat improbable setting, the Wedding Feast of Cana. While a party celebrating a marriage is a good thing, it is not exactly the first place one looks for a Messiah’s first heavenly intervention. One would have expected a miracle at the Temple or perhaps in front of a King, but that is not Jesus. He is lowly and humble. He is the Savior of all the people, not just the religious or upper class.
Jesus, Mary, and the Disciples attend this anonymous wedding feast. It is wonderful to think about the humanity of Jesus and the disciples sitting and feasting in joy and merriment. The idea of Jesus enjoying a well-cooked piece of lamb with His friends and family can seem so foreign. Yet, He was fully man. God became man so salvation could be easily accessible to all. It is so easy to forget that the people of the Bible were people just like us.
A hospitality emergency occurs during the feast. The wine for the festivities runs out. The failure of a family to provide enough wine at such a significant occasion would have been a scandal at that time. The culture was based on hospitality and lapses were considered greatly insulting. It would have been an embarrassment to the young couple and their family to fail in this regard. It likely would have followed them well after the day.
In the close-knit communities of those days, do you think anything like that was ever forgotten? How long would the whispering about the Wedding failure happen whenever their names were mentioned?
There are so often in the Bible insurmountable problems that are resolved by the intervention of God. The wine ran out. There is no more and people will be in pain as a result. Jesus steps in and fixes the situation.
And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Jesus performs the first of His many recorded miracle. Water to wine in a moment.
The account is not limited to just the transformation. He does not fix the problem by Himself. Jesus uses the servants around Him. He could have simply filled every glass with an unending supply of wine with a word. Yet, He enlists the help of those who are there ready and willing to work. He calls on the servants to grab the jars and fill them with water. He then has them go throughout the feast and serve others with His new wine.
Jesus did the actual turning water into wine alone. The servants could not change the water on their own. He has them carry out the physical steps necessary to make it happen. They fill the pots with water. They expend the effort listening to Jesus and then stand by in expectation. They then are privileged to witness the details of the work done by Jesus. Jesus invites the servers to see the inside of the execution of the miracle.
Can you see the blessing in this work?
The servants know with absolute certainty that they themselves did nothing out of the ordinary. They filled pots with their own hands with water and set them before Jesus. Their own inadequacy to fix the situation was clearly on display.
“Ok, Jesus, we have water in the pots what now?”, they must wonder. Every person who serves Jesus has been in this same position of expectancy.
There was nothing miraculous about the pots or their placement. They just followed the instruction Jesus gave them. The servants did what they can do. They did what Jesus said to do and waited and watched what happened next.
You Will See the Works of God
Here is the payoff. They listened to Jesus, did what He said, and did what they could. They then get to see Jesus interact with the pots. His glory is on full display. It is eternal God molding the world to His will. They alone witness the simple vessels of water change into wine. They alone see the results of Jesus’ work in those vessels. They alone watch the transformation. No one else at the Feast understands the type of love Jesus has for simple people to save them from shame.
Can we imagine the joy of the servants seeing the reactions of the guests as they sampled the wine? How they must have marveled as the Master of the Feast proclaimed it the best wine! The workers knew it was just water a few moments before.
The servants had to fight doubt and rebellion when they were told to serve with water from pots. It just made seeing the joy brought about by Jesus’ miracle even sweeter.
It is only the servants that get the full picture of Jesus’ work from beginning to end. They are side by side with Jesus. They see His power. They know for absolutely certain that Jesus does amazing things. They see nothing is impossible for Him.
The very same process takes place today serve the Lord in faith.
Effort is always required to serve whether you are called to pray or street witness. It can be exhausting. You can work your fingers to the bone filling thousands of pots with water and your good intentions. It is when Jesus adds the power of God that we get to see life-changing things happen. It is here that the blessing is enormous. You can’t turn water to wine but you can fill the pots. If you do it alongside Jesus you will always be there to see Him do His work. It may be in the wine, the pots or in you, but Jesus will work.
You know for certain it is nothing you did and all about Jesus. God is constantly working and taking the basest materials – people just like you and me – and turning us into sweet wine to be poured out for Him. You are not going to see that if we are sitting at home watching a football game.
Service in Jesus is an enormous privilege. You get to see Jesus work up close and personally. You are allowed to come in and participate. You get to do so alongside God Himself. It is the joy of watching Jesus work with your hands as He does the miraculous. If you are not serving the Body of Christ in some way today, you are missing out on this great blessing.