The Costliness of Service

1 Chronicles 21:22-24
And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the LORD–give it to me at its full price–that the plague may be averted from the people.”
Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.”
But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

I love what David said. He will not offer anything to God that costs him nothing. Is your attitude like David? Have you been giving God the scraps of your wealth, your time, your talents? Has your service been one of convenience?

I used to think about Christian service in a very worldly perspective, asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” If there is no benefit, I don’t bother to help out or serve. It may be a good principle in the workplace, but this viewpoint has poisoned me in the church too! Many things done for God has no visible benefits.

That’s why I take my hat off to those serving behind the scenes in church (Audio-visual team, planning committees, cleaners). It’s hard to serve when people don’t realise you’re serving until something goes wrong. Service has a cost and we have to remember how Jesus served when He came into this fallen world.

He came not as a king or deity but as a servant to all. He said that Himself and He definitely backed up his claims when He washed his disciples’ feet. There was an incident when the disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest. And Jesus laid out a paradox for them.

Mark 10:42-45

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

To be great, you first have to be a servant. To be a servant costs you everything – your will, your money, your very life. And Jesus exemplified it when He gave His life for us. That’s the greatest gift ever given. Your gifts, like Jesus and David, has to cost you something. God deserves our best.

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