David began by giving thanks to God, and to the congregation, for the incredible number of people serving at Windsor Baptist, in a great variety of ways.
The importance and the priority of serving others are vital. Serving is what Scripture tells us we have been created to do, called to do, equipped to do, and what Jesus has instructed and modelled for us to do. David underlined the fact that the word serving is biblical, rather than volunteering, which is not. The church is looking for servants who are asking “how and where can I serve?”
Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10
Thus we are designed to serve, but created in Christ Jesus, that is, made new creations with the purpose of serving others – principally the Church.
To a different group of Christians Paul writes,
True freedom means living beyond ourselves.
As to being equipped, Peter writes
Furthermore, Paul teaches how Christ has given the Church different people for a specific reason:
As we serve, in whatever capacity, we are strengthening the Church!
We are also instructed to serve. Frequently Jesus had to take his disciples aside and explain that anyone who wants to be great must learn to be a servant.
Jesus made it clear that he did not come to be served, but to serve, so as his followers we must do the same. Nowhere is this more graphically modelled than in John 13, where the Lord actually knelt down and washed the dusty feet of his disciples! Then he explicitly told them he had set them an example.
These are all reasons why we should serve.
However, how and where should I serve? David reminded us of the acrostic SHAPE. As we are all different, so we can serve in different ways, and SHAPE can help us to think about this.
S = spiritual gifts. In Ephesians 4 we discover that every one of us has been given gifts in order to enrich the lives of others. We neither deserve nor choose them. God decides which gift each person should have. (See 1 Peter 4:10 above, and Romans 12:6.)
Some 20 or more gifts are listed in the New Testament. No one has not been gifted in order to play our essential part in building up the Body of Christ. Peter says, “If anyone serves, he should do so with the strength God provides.” When we feel weak, inadequate, or simply fed up, God will provide us with the strength we need if we ask him.
H = heart. What are you passionate about? If your heart is in something, no one needs to motivate or challenge you. Sometimes this passion grows after we get involved.
A = abilities. All our abilities come from God, and we should use them to serve in Windsor – and beyond.
P = personality. God uses all personality types. Like stained glass, our different personalities can reflect God’s light in many colours and patterns. Our personalities are additional factors which have shaped us to serve.
E = experience. Our life experiences, whether good or difficult, have been used by God to mould us. They have shaped us to serve and we should draw on them.
Who can serve in the Body of Christ? Every one of us.