Living to Serve or Serving to Live

This question or statement is a plumb line we must now hold to our ministries and ministerial activity. How many times we get into the routine of activity. Harks back to Shakespeare:

To be or not to be…that is the question.

Or rather, to be or to do…that is the question. If we’re not being, we’re simply doing, going through the motions.

We must go to the heart of the above heading/title, and examine ourselves. I found myself musing that since the economic crisis started just a year ago, our giving was comfortable. Then once people, who were locked in on doing than being began to pull their purse strings tight, thats when the problems started.

When you consider how much time you spend trying to resolve the food on the table issue, that is where the above becomes a plumbline. What is happening?

Am I running round trying to resolve my problems, or leaving them with the Lord, to concentrate on Kingdom issues? The latter is the ideal, but it does not always work like that. Wives and children do not know the word “wait.”

We see from the Bible just a case, but in its extremes. We see Eli, the high priest being manipulated and controlled by the corruption of his own grown up sons. They corrupted themselves with the gain through the sacrificial offerings brought to them. They would keep the better part for themselves. They no longer saw the priesthood as a life of service, but a means to live off. This is corruption, which the Lord dealt with very harshly indeed.

The ministry is not a business, nor a way of making money. However the Bible says that the “worker is worthy of his hire.” Meaning his service to the Lord should in no way be an abuse of neglecting the fact that the worker has responsibilities to fulfil.

In a way I wish I could get away from the financial issue, but it is on everyone’s mind. The concern is there. Really what is at the heart is the attitude.

Ministry is a vocation: a person is called out, not to laziness, but to service to the Lord.

Ministry is a provocation: it is a provocation to the people of the need for ministry sacrifices to the Lord, and their effectiveness . Such things as activity and contemplation and seeking God do not always go together. There has to be an availability to seek the Lord.

The ministry is serving the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is a love offering to the Lord. Should be received like that. You are privileged to be called that way. The Church should also see it that way.

I believe that God has allowed the current crisis to arrive, hit our doorstep for a reason, to get rid of the professional ministry. To bring us back to the core of the issue.

If we are serving to live, maybe we need to remember the day of our calling out.

I remember my calling out well. It goes back to 1987. I was priveleged to go to Minehead in the UK. Minehead is a wonderful place. The cliff hangs out to the sea, lovely trees, and the blue sea. I remember that that April was unusually hot. I remember that the journey started out at my Church in Eastwood, Nottingham. I remember the bus was small and comfortable. Early that Saturday morning, I was not prepared for the sudden turn my life would take. We journeyed slowly down to the South West of England. The motorways were in works, and our journey took longer. I had a quiet ambition. Serve the Lord.

I was working helping as a carpenter’s assistant. Yet this week was unnaturally warm for the time of year. We journeyed to a Butlins holiday camp. It did not take long for the Lord to move. In the Monday night meeting, God spoke to me to give me life over to a Levitical call, that is for His Service. The Presence and coercion of the Lord was remarkable. We were invited to the front of the theatre, and someone counselled us and prayed with us. I knew I had met the Lord. The next day we had to speak to the leaders. They asked us what God had told us. We were channelled to various ministry opportunities.

I know my meeting with the Lord was tested that year. My Church wanted to know if it was really the call of God, and not just my ambition. I am forever grateful for the pastor and the deacon who believed in my call. I remember the Youth Alive leadership, Ian Green who interviewed me, (who is now a director at NLI Europe) who asked the question, eyeball to eyeball if I was called, knew the call. I told them yes, I knew. I was accepted on ACE Teams. I travelled up and down Britain for a year.

I am reliving all this, 20 years on. I remember the meeting I had with God, the type of call. The visitation was marvellous. The lessons afforded for the future was so incredible. I know that that call still accompanies me today.

So I want to come back, to live to serve, my only motivation.


  1. #1 by portugalfire on January 27, 2010 - 2:49 pm

    I believe this message so important today. I relived experiences that I had put to the back of my mind. So glad to relive them again!

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