Written by cycleguy on September 9th, 2014

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Matt begins his chapter on the Creature as a Servant with an almost “hard-to-believe” story. But also true. David Karnes was an accountant when 9/11 happened. As an ex-Marine (is there such a thing?), he went and got a high-and-tight haircut, put on his fatigues and drove at speeds of 120 mph in order to get to Ground Zero to help. When all others were pulling away from the sight due to danger, he and another Marine began walking to see if there were any they could save. They heard the slight tapping of Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin who had been trapped for nine hours in an elevator shaft. They are alive because an accountant in Connecticut found them.

We live an age of entitlement and sadly, the church is often guilty of that thinking. We have enjoyed the “favor” of society for years and seem to expect it to continue. We have, in many ways, become very selfish. Inward focused. “Let’s build bigger barns.”

Quite frankly, the church was never put here to impress or to live for itself. In this Scripture Jesus is saying His followers are to serve others because Jesus has served us. Not out of guilt. Not out of force. Not because it is the right thing to do. Not because we are a “cause-oriented” church.

We serve because Jesus served us.

The church was never intended to be guilty of navel-gazing. I have to wonder what God thinks about churches which build mega-million dollar  facilities but cringe when asked to help out paying a utility bill. I hate it when we don’t have the finances to help someone, but it also fuels the desire to never take on a huge mortgage. How can we justify that while turning someone away who needs help? We are, quite frankly, facing this very issue. Desperately in need of space for Sunday morning, plans are on the table for an expansion of our current facility. It is not a lot of money given the debt of so many churches, but it is not something I/we want to fall into. It is a fine line to walk: meeting the needs of the church body without putting a hardship on that same body to help others. The leadership will be talking about our approach tonight as we struggle with space issues and also look forward to our 10th Anniversary in October. May I ask you to please say a prayer for us to do what God wants? Thanks.

For what its worth department: I normally post this series on Creature of the Word on Tuesday night and run it through Wednesday night. I am posting it early due to a crazy schedule brought on by a home-going. several meetings, and other things. I will comment when I have a chance-both here and at some of your blogs. Thanks for understanding.

Finally: what are your thoughts? Why do you serve?


27 Comments so far ↓

  1. Caleb Suko says:

    I remember reading that story about David Karnes! What a guy! Our churches need to learn to run towards the battle, not away!

    • cycleguy says:

      it is a tremendous tribute to him Caleb. Sure exhibited the whole “run to the battle” idea. Thanks.

    • Zee says:

      Heh, your comment reminded me of the “holy-war” in Facebook these days about whether Church should be involved in the events in Eastern Ukraine – whether Christians should participate or we should completely abstain from the violence…

  2. Daniel says:

    That was a great story about the marine. Ahhh, the power of one … of the One. Blessings. Good luck on your expansion discussion. I pray that you seek wisdom and know it when you hear it.

  3. Praying for you Brother…I know the Father will lead that servant heart of yours!

  4. Zee says:

    It’s a catch-22… You get a group and then you need a bigger building… then you get a bigger building and end up needing more people to fill it (recently met a guy who claimed that if God gave your 100+ people church a building for 6,000 people, it’s the job of the pastor to fill it)…

    • cycleguy says:

      yes it is Zee. However, that guy? He ought to be strung up (figuratively speaking of course). 🙂 He has no clue what it means for all followers to be involved in the mission of the church.

      • Zee says:

        I (and my father-in-law) told him pretty much the same. But also, he was concentrated on quantity instead of quality (the discussion started because Sam mentioned that he prefers smaller churches rather than 1000+ ones because it’s hard for a pastor not to turn into a CEO)…

  5. Kari Scare says:

    He created and saved me. How can I not serve Him?

  6. the Old Adam says:

    Most of the time I serve myself.

    But now and then I will actually step outside my comfort zone and really serve. Half the time that I am serving I am thinking about what I’d rather be doing or where I’d rather be.

    But at least whomever I happen to be helping gets a bit of needed help.

    • jeff says:

      How do you decide if they are getting a bit of needed help or if you are just stroking yourself?

      • cycleguy says:

        That’s a good question Jeff and one I have to ask myself all the time. Am I doing this for them (or Jesus) or for my ego stroke? I wonder if the motive which comes to the top is a tell-tale sign.

      • the Old Adam says:

        It’s easy to know if people need your help. Often they will ask you to help them. I help people…and quite often.

        But where God is concerned it merits me nothing. And so often I am just sinning, because my heart is not in it.

        I don’t do it to stroke my ego. I do it because they need help. I would just rather not be helping (but relaxing or doing stuff that I want to do instead.).

  7. I had a pastor once who was always upset that someone would pass 14 other churches to ask our church for help. I should have run as far away from him as possible.

    • cycleguy says:

      I understand your frustration Larry. As a pastor it is a hard call. Sometimes a church gets known for its “softie” approach and every Tom, Dick & Harry suddenly has a need and runs to that church. it is a fine line. But complaining about it is also wrong. I’d rather be known as a church which has a heart than one that is a stone.

  8. Allen says:

    Once again you have nailed it squarely on the head. Thank you for sharing this. As you are probably more than aware, it’s been going through my head for several years now.

    As always, y’all are in our prayers


    • cycleguy says:

      Of all my readers Allen, you have one of the softest hearts for the homeless and down-and-outers that I have ever known. You put your feet to your mouth. I have always appreciated that about you. your move to Florida (caused by a job loss) and your action of joining in a volunteer ministry almost immediately speaks volumes. You should be writing this post.

  9. Hi Bill,

    Finances and churches are always matters we should approach with lots of prayer, huh? May your team have wisdom, discernment, and unity while sensing God’s leading.

    Re your comment on my post “The Other Woman in my Marriage,” Bill, I think you may be right! 🙂 I love it too.

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Betty Draper says:

    I ditto what Caleb said, running toward the battle is hard but so worth it. It’s been a battle for Ace and I now serving in the USA to not be drawn into the bigger is better, numbers and all that goes with that mindset. I think often of when Jesus met the multitudes and He just started serving. He never turned to the disciples and said, hey go look for a bigger hill side, it’s too crowded, we need more room. One of the things that stirred Ace and mine hearts was we passed five good gospel preaching churches on our five mile trip to our church. Then we heard about places that had people who were unreached, wow what a contrasts. This stuff you are writing and dealing with is hard for us. Honest Bill we would love a crowded church that is crowded because folks were reaching out.
    I do pray for you brother and the church people. We as believers should struggle with this kinds of issues. Ace would always say when he shared about mission, not all of you will go but you should at least struggle with it. It’s a heart struggle with will drive us to our knees for God’s direction and wisdom.

    • cycleguy says:

      The nature of the church is to reach out. Jesus never intended for His bride to be a “closed society.” I just don’t want to be part of that. Thanks for your prayers Betty. I do believe you and Ace have it right.

  11. Praying with you, Bill. I’ve been in Colossians 3 for a while and verse 17 has stood out to me the past several weeks, “Everything you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Everything we do in Jesus’ name bears fruit. We are submitted and He said He appointed us to bear fruit that remains. When I serve or speak to prove something or manipulate or just feel better about myself, there’s something missing. I want to do it all in the name of Jesus and see eternal fruit produced. Thank you, Bill.