Let's focus on the needs at hand more than our individual gifting.

However You Serve, Do So With Love 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 explains to us that we must be motivated by love, regardless of our gifts or how we choose to serve in our local bodies of Christ:

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." 

The instruments mentioned in the first part of this passage, gongs and cymbals, were used to make loud noises, but frustrated listeners when the appropriate words were not used to accompany a song. Does this describe us when we serve? What is our motivation for doing so? When we serve out of any motivation besides love, it not only displeases God, it is not useful to those we are serving here on earth.

Whether we are engaging in a task or act of service that utilizes our gifts or goes beyond those gifts, we need to do a heart check. Why do we do it? Are we motivated by love? Do we serve so that we can appear to be better in front of others? Are we appeasing our own sense of self-righteousness?

1 Samuel 16: 7 tells us that "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Keep this truth in mind when you are faced with opportunities to build up the Body of Christ and expand the Kingdom of God through service. God knows your motives for serving, whether it is love for Him, recognition from man, or to satisfy our own preferences.

Admittedly, it's not as much fun to serve when the need requires getting our hands a bit dirty, not getting the recognition we want, or not doing something in which we feel particularly gifted. But remember that the Lord sees and rewards when we serve out of love for Him and love for others.

Joy Allmond is a writer for billygraham.org. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, two step sons and two dogs. In her very little spare time, she can be found concocting her latest culinary masterpiece, watching college basketball or buried in a book. She is working on her Master's degree in Biblical Studies at Southern Evangelical Seminary.
*All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.

Publication date: February 14, 2011