Elizabeth Andrew once said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” Though the typical “season of giving” is far from most minds as summer approaches, I’m reminded of this quote often, especially in the context of serving God and His kingdom.
As followers of Christ, we are called to serve others and to be generous with our time, talent, and treasure. Jesus himself was sent to Earth to be a servant to others.
Mark 10:45 says,
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
If we are to be like Jesus, as all Christians aspire, we must be willing to serve others before we seek to serve ourselves.
Generosity with our treasure is arguably the easiest of the three T’s. You can simply plan on a recurring basis, whether weekly, monthly, or annually, to budget contributions to organizations that serve others in addition to regular giving to the church.
To be generous with talent and time gets more complicated in our current world where everyone seems to be perpetually busy and never seems to have enough time to accomplish the things that “need” to be done on a growing to-do list. This sentiment is reflected in Warren’s quote; however, talent and time might be the most important things we can give to others.
1 Peter 4:10 reads,
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
Peter explains that we must use whatever God has bestowed upon us to serve His kingdom.
Peter does not outline a list of qualifications, such as, “if you have time” or “when it’s convenient for you.” Christians must seek to serve God, to be like Christ, at any time, even when it is inconvenient.
But be wary; this can lead to Christians and any others that seek the Kingdom of Heaven to perform deeds of service out of obligation and not out of love for Christ. When the pure intent of serving others as a sign of showing the love of Jesus Christ to others is lost, and people serve only so that they “check a box” or “fulfill an obligation,” the false notion that one can enter Heaven based on the deeds they perform on Earth begins to creep in.
As Ephesians 2:8-9 states,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
God’s love for us and the grace He has shown us are enough if we believe in Him. Serving others is just one way that we outwardly show our love for Christ and God’s grace.
Christians need to be willing to serve God at any time with our talent, time, and our treasures. A perfect opportunity to serve someone may arise at the worst possible time, or the time to serve someone may have fallen into place perfectly only for a chance to serve to disappear. But no matter what, service to others should always be done out of love for God.