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First Call To Service

The title of this blog is very specific for a reason. It is to avoid confusion with the First Call on everyone’s life: To get saved by trusting Jesus Christ Who shed His blood for us! Then there is the Call to be Baptized by immersion. Once saved, be baptized.

But today I am writing about service. And I am assuming that you are saved and that you have obeyed your Savior and been baptized.

You are probably very much aware of Ephesians 2:8-9 where you find that salvation is a gift of grace and not of works. But then we find that once saved a Christian is expected to work. I refer you to Ephesians 2:10:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

There are other verses encouraging, even commanding Christians to work, but this verse should be sufficient for any born-again believer!

How Can You Know the Call of God?

Christians are called in a variety of ways and areas of service. In my case I was first called to serve God in the Sunday School. I was a student in a Young Adult class knowing nothing about teaching, but one day I realized something. Our teacher had to dig deeper into God’s Word so that he could teach us. He actually learned more and imparted only a portion of what he learned.

My first call to service, therefore, came as a result of my deep desire to learn God’s Word. But I knew nothing of teaching. So I went to the Minister of Education and told him I thought God wanted me to teach.

He didn’t hesitate, but immediately asked me, “Would you be interested in teaching 6th grade boys?” To be honest that scared me. I felt more comfortable talking to adults. But I immediately knew this was God’s call, so I said yes.

He suggested that I take a course (by mail) from Moody Bible Institute. I did as he suggested and that Fall I started teaching. Since that beginning I have served in a variety of areas in three different churches.

But the important thing here is that I sensed God’s call on my life, I sought the wisdom of an associate pastor, I acted on his advice, and began serving. All this even though I knew nothing, not even the basics of teaching, until I received instruction from Moody.

That proved to be my first step in serving God. Now I am using my talents as a writer to serve God, but I still am involved in the Sunday School ministry. God took me and built upon my early works to where I am today. And He is still working on me.

How Do You Prepare For That Call?

The short answer is: make yourself willing to serve. It is not how much you know but how much you are will to do what He wants you to do! No job is too small or too big.

The longer answer is to first be obedient. That includes tithing, attending as many church services as possible, Bible study, and prayer. Seek God and ask Him to reveal what He wants you to do (which may be totally opposite what you want to do). Go to your pastor and tell him you want to serve. It’s OK to mention areas of interest, but be open to his suggestions.

An example of this in my life came recently when our pastor was restructuring the Bus Ministry. I was a helper on Saturdays working with a bus driver and visiting the bus route. But pastor broke us up and assigned us different responsibilities. In my case he asked if I’d be willing to visit people who had missed church or Sunday School? I said yes and, with my wife, began visiting. Already this ministry has expanded to the point where we call on absentees, the sick, and the new (prospects). Since I have been in the soul winning ministry from almost the beginning of my Christian walk, I find this exciting.

Warning: Don’t presume that because you may sense a call to be a preacher or evangelist that you should immediately start there. Just as I needed to learn how to teach (and for that matter how to be a soul winner), you need to do the little things (see my blog on Christian Service and The Little Things). Getting ahead of God can cause problems down the road (read the story of Jacob and Esau in Gen. 27:1-46 and how Rebekah got ahead of God – we are still suffering the consequences).

How you respond to that first call to service may very well set the pattern for the rest of your life. Respond rightly and God will build upon it. There is no telling what He will do with you!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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Christian Service and the little things

Have you ever been called to serve God in your church or elsewhere? Do you feel called to a particular ministry?

This blog is a little out of order because the first thing to do when God comes knocking is to make sure the call is from God and make sure what the call is about. I plan on addressing those issues later, but I am addressing this blog to Christians who have already determined that God has called them. What should they do?

Some Christians respond by jumping right into the call. Perhaps they have been called to be a missionary. So they immediately decide to be a missionary to an arbitrarily selected country. Perhaps they apply to a mission board.

Or perhaps they have been called to be a Deacon. So they go to their pastor and tell him.

I believe that the Bible teaches us to do all things in order. If God has called us to some grand ministry it doesn’t necessarily mean that you jump in your car and leave. Rather, a more practical approach is needed.

I call it “Doing the Little Things.”

I knew a man once who believed that God had called him to be a great evangelist. There is a big difference between being a pew sitting churchgoer and being an evangelist. At that time he was not doing any service within the church, not even soul winning as I recall.

As a friend with a few more years of maturity I advised him to start doing the little things that needed to be done around the church. I also advised that being part of the soul winning ministry would be a good start. And finally I advised that he hang around the preacher, perhaps doing little things for him while learning.

Instead of following my advice he eventually left the church and went to another church where I understand he got a platform. But that’s it. He has never become an evangelist. In fact to my knowledge he has never become a preacher.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have heard testimonies of men called to preach as teenagers and were soon preaching. However, every testimony I have heard like that meant that they preached in their backyard or neighborhood. In some cases they got their first taste of preaching by occasionally preaching in their church. Most followed that by studying the Bible at home, serving in their church and going to a seminary. Later they either founded their own church or interned at another church before becoming a pastor.

In other words, they did the little things.

I have been blessed to be able to serve God in a variety of areas. This includes serving on our church’s mission’s board and eventually serving as Financial Secretary. But I didn’t do either at the beginning.

I began a journey of little things. First I became a soul winner. While doing that I also started ushering. In the big picture neither of these are big jobs because any Christian can do them. (All Christians should be soul winners.)

But pastors are practical as well as spiritual. When considering people for higher positions they look at what the person has done and is doing. Yes I know we are not to work to please men. But God chooses to work through them. Only God can see our hearts, but pastors need evidence.

When I was called to full time service I was already serving in several areas. The call came through a sermon my pastor preached. I went to him after service and told him of the call. But we had a mutual problem: neither of us knew what area of service that call involved. But he agreed that I had been called.

So what did we do?

First, I continued to serve where I was and pray. I waited on God’s direction. And eventually it came. One day while I was at work my pastor called me and told me that the job of Financial Secretary would be available in a couple of years. Would I be interested?

Now I happen to believe that if you are asking for God’s direction and an opening shows up, that you are then obligated to at least consider it. In this case I quickly accepted the idea and, since I knew nothing about accounting, I went to night school.

About a year and a half later my pastor wanted me to start working nights and learning the job at the church. So I dropped out of school and went to work. In 1993 I retired from the company I was working at and three days later became the church’s Financial Secretary. And I worked there for 15 years!

Since then I have moved to Florida and once again I was asked to be the Financial Secretary and have now worked for 9 years.

But the truth is I don’t think that was God’s final call. I believe He still has something special He wants me to do. I am not quite sure what that is but I am willing to wait on Him. And I am prayerfully waiting.

I have said all of this to make this point, If you want to serve God then start by doing the little things. Pray about it, be a soul winner, and serve in the church even if it involves menial activities. You will be amazed when you see how He works these things into your life and issues a call to you!

I recently read someone’s commentary on a passage of the Bible (Titus 3:14) and she misunderstood it to mean that God helps them who help themselves. This is not taught. In fact, we have seen where both men and women in the Bible have tried to help out God and instead got in His way. God wants us to wait on Him and let Him direct our paths (Psalm 27:14; 37:34 and Proverbs 20:22). When we do that and make ourselves available to Him opportunities will come!

So do the little things.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.