Monday, June 9, 2014

Serving Without Sinking

Serving without Sinking, John Hindley

Here is another offering by The Good Book Company, in the same series as Compared to Her.

John Hindley faces head on the issue many committed Christians feel - we should serve, we are called to serve, we want to serve, and yet sometimes it is very hard work, be it through tiredness, busyness, or being unappreciated and unacknowledged.

He challenges us to see that many of the reasons we serve as Christians are actually flawed. They can come from a wrong view of God and Jesus - I serve to be good enough, I serve to get something, or I serve to pay Him back. We can also have a wrong view of people so we serve to impress or belong; or we can have wrong view of ourselves so perhaps we serve because we think Jesus needs us, or in fact we don’t really need Jesus. All of these possibilities are fleshed out well with good examples and explanation, and I could honestly see myself in all of them at various times.

He ends this section with the challenge that if we see these reasons operating strongly in us and we feel like our serving is sinking us, we should consider stopping some of our service:
“If you’ve sat reading and the thought keeps coming: I know this is me. But I can’t stop for a while to sort my heart out. I’m the only cleaner. I’m the one who lives close enough to open up. I’m the pastor. then remember: it is better to quit your job than lose your Lord.” (p44)
Hindley then take us back to Christ and our relationship with him. Through a series of chapters, he leads us to see that we are served by Christ, we are friends with him, we are his bride and we are his true sons; and even now Christ is still serving us. Through all of this, we can see that serving follows love and Christ is indeed our first love, and so serving Him brings joy.

The strength of these little books seems to be in identifying the issues. Like Compared to Her, I found the last few chapters on how we find our true value in Christ a little light on and would have liked to see them fleshed out a little further. However these books are designed to be short and easily readable, and so that is really only a comment from someone who always likes to read in more detail!

As service is an area in which many Christians are indeed serving for the wrong reasons and sinking in the process, this would be a great ‘reset’ for both our motivations and our desire to serve Christ fully.

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