Friday, March 8, 2013

When you come up out of the waters of baptism, you are cleaner than anything else on the planet. You are pure, you are spotless, you are without blemish. You are now in tune with God. But, clothing yourself with Christ comes with a responsibility, one that you will have to fulfill while you live on earth. This responsibility is not just an expectation, it is a command.
What is this responsibility? In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gave His disciples the great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This still applies to me and to you today! We are supposed to be harvesting precious, precious souls for Christ, for Heaven! The fields are full of ripe, ready-to-be-converted souls, and Christ wants nothing more than to have them under His wing. But sadly, not many people are willing to work out in the fields and glean these souls any longer. We have become complacent and lazy, and have sat in our pews singing songs like “We’ll work ‘til Jesus comes” and “Let the lower lights be burning” without actually meaning what we’re singing. We must get busy working on harvesting souls, because if we don’t, who will?

The reason we are expected to work is because Jesus Christ Himself worked. The Son of God didn't come to earth to kick back under the shade of a Sycamore tree and have His disciples fan Him when He got hot. No! In Philippians 2: 5-8, it says of Christ that “ though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Being a servant is humiliating; not in the sense of being embarrassing, but in the fact that it puts you in a lower position than someone else, and that is not a natural act for human beings. It’s humiliating to think of someone else before yourself, it’s humiliating to work and not laze around and focus on our immediate needs and wants. If we want to be Christ-like, we have to learn how to be servants for Christ, like Christ.
Now, by “serve”, God doesn’t mean wait tables and fill people’s glasses with Dr. Pepper, although you could if you wanted to, but that’s not the main goal of serving. He means counting others more important than yourself. The happiness of your brother or sister in Christ should come far above your own, and it should be your goal to ensure that happiness at any cost. It doesn’t matter if he only talks about boring things, or if she annoys you. They are your siblings in Christ, and you are responsible to serve them in whatever way they need, whether it be a meal, money, or just a listening ear to their problems.

What will happen if we don’t serve, or work, or save souls? I’ll give you a hint: do you remember what Jesus did to the fig tree that wouldn’t grow figs in Matthew 21:18-19? Jesus caused it to wither because it didn’t produce fruit! In Matthew 7:19, Jesus tells us that every tree that doesn’t bear fruit will be chopped up and thrown in to the fire. If we don’t want to be thrown in to the fire, we need to produce beautiful, bountiful fruit.
We don’t have to work alone, or without help. At the end of the Great Commission, Jesus gives some great encouragement to His disciples: “And behold, I am with you to the end of the age.” He will be with us, and He will bless us and provide for us if we continue to work and focus on serving Him. And, not only do we have that assurance, but we also have the blessing of fellow workers for the kingdom in the church. Our brothers and sisters are always there to encourage and edify, and we can work together for Christ. We also have prayer, which is the most powerful tool given to mankind. When used correctly (which means frequently), we will be strengthened for work and service. 
Don’t let Jesus come back to Earth to find a church full of lazy, complaining members who are at strife with one another and aren't converting people, but let Him find hard-working servants, who strive not with one another, but to sow the word of God as far as possible.