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An Opportunity to Serve

Robby and Maddy Riutta | The Voice of Zion April 2024 - Home & Family Article --

Robby and Maddy Riutta discuss how they view serving in God’s kingdom.

Maddy: In my mind, serving in God’s kingdom can either be an opportunity or an obligation, depending on your mindset. It definitely is more positive and perhaps even exciting to perceive tasks presented to us as opportunities instead of obligations even if the opportunity is simply to learn that you aren’t suited for the task. Regardless of your perspective prior to serving, a common sentiment I’ve heard and felt is that blessings, often surprising, come with serving. One surprise is that having a listening ear and forgiving heart can be the simplest form of service.

Robby: For me, serving provides fellowship with other believers and a feeling of belonging to God’s kingdom. Tasks like serving in the kitchen are often full of conversation with other believers, and I always leave feeling uplifted and happy. With our busy lives, it can be hard to make time for visiting with other believers, and being called to serve can be a great way to spend time with others who we otherwise wouldn’t have visited with.

Individual tasks such as announcements, organizing events, etc. are also important for my faith life. It helps me to keep connected with God’s kingdom and provides a feeling of belonging with the other believers and the congregation. Even when being called to serve has felt like a burden initially, I’ve always felt like I finished with a joyful heart and felt uplifted in faith.

Maddy: I think there are blessings in serving in even the most basic ways such as kitchen and janitorial duties. Although these tasks can be mundane, they often provide opportunities for friendship with other believers, which is one of the greatest gifts. It’s also rewarding to be a part of an effort larger than yourself, with the common goal of hearing God’s Word.

Maybe one of the best ways to encourage others to be involved is just by showing up. I always feel inspired to help out when I see other believers serving willingly despite their busy lives. It’s easy to feel like you aren’t well suited for a task but hey, if they can do it, maybe I can too.

Living further from a large congregation has magnified the importance of serving in God’s kingdom. We now recognize all of the effort required to organize services, especially in a congregation that doesn’t have a church building. We can reflect on the vast magnitude of service done by believers, in ways we may not have noticed before. Some of these tasks include ensuring a good sound system, choosing service songs, paying church bills and handling important documents. We miss the camaraderie and fellowship of serving on committees with friends and realize what a blessing it is to serve. 

The Importance of Serving God’s Kingdom 

Joe Anderson

There are many ways to serve in God’s kingdom, from janitorial and grounds care to meal and coffee preparation, to Sunday school and Bible class teaching, to organist and song leading, to technical audio broadcast support. It might not seem like it to you but your “know how” and skill can be used in God’s kingdom. Consider that even just one congregation service could be heard around the world, perhaps even by an individual in a part of the world where people may fear discovery of their Christian beliefs. The work needed to get that service audio broadcast online is done by individuals serving God’s kingdom. All service work is important work, and we as individuals cannot fully understand this importance.

It seems every time I have been asked to serve in God’s kingdom, I felt the gifts God has given me have been mistakenly evaluated. But really, it is more likely the person asking understood and trusted that God provides the needed talents. It is not of ourselves that we do the work.

Serving God’s kingdom is not a one-way street, as the giving is only a small portion of service. I have heard committee members say, “I feel like I contribute so little, but the blessings I get back are many times greater. I feel I have been served.” This received service often causes the servant to feel personally blessed and fortunate to be involved in the work, even in what may seem like unimportant tasks. The person serving can feel included in the activities and congregation – it is important that members feel it is their congregation. They can get to know others and others get to know them, especially if they are “the door keeper.” While serving one often hears others share experiences, trials and blessings they have received, which helps one reflect on blessings received. Talents and blessings God has given are shared with others for the benefit of all. 

It seems that God blesses us with a talent or skill that appears small to us. But when we look at others’ skills that we ourselves don’t have, the skill appears great. It may be a blessing that God has caused us to look at our gifts as being less so that we can share them. If we felt our gifts were extremely valuable, maybe we would want to hoard the gifts. Instead, those who come to serve do so with their lowly talent and God grants the increase as He sees best. Serve with what you have, no matter how insignificant you feel it is, and you will experience the blessings of serving in God’s kingdom. 

Saved to Serve

Paul Honkala

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9).

When one owns living faith, a gift from God, one feels the need to serve all people. The Holy Spirit opens this matter to a believing heart. When sins are forgiven, one knows the love of the heavenly Father and realizes all things come from God. This understanding produces a serving mind towards humankind. 

In serving one another, the server gets as much joy as the one who’s being served. The believing heart prays for the mind of Christ towards all people; in that way we desire to serve. This love of neighbor is a fruit of faith, the faith that hears the gospel and believes one’s own sins forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood.  

How Can We Encourage Children to Serve?

Noella Herrala

Adults can encourage:

Speak positively about serving

Try to be an example and joyfully serve

Get children involved when they are young

Work together with your children

Try to align skills, interests and gifts with the tasks to be done

Reward or acknowledge them when they help and do a good job

Speak about the blessings of serving God’s kingdom and your neighbor

Points to visit about with your children:

As you serve, you will learn about faith and other temporal things

Sometimes, serving is an opportunity to travel

When you serve others, they will serve you

As you serve, you may get to know friends better and meet new ones

Those you work with may become close escorts on the journey

Encouraging Youth to Serve

Bill and Chris Josephson

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Tim. 4:11–14).

In our time our youth have so many opportunities to volunteer, such as singing in youth choirs, helping with fundraisings, working at camps or working with family cleaning crews.

The joy of working with other youth and God’s children strengthens faith as we journey together to reach our heavenly home.

Jesus, I receive from You days of honest labors,

that my gifts might all be used serving all my neighbors.

Bless my work, and bless my rest; bless my times of study.

Give me peace, contentedness in each task and duty.

SHZ 471:4  

H & F Questions for Discussion:

  1. Of all who have lived, who was the greatest servant and taught service through instruction and modeling?

  2. Serving is how we live our lives of faith. Discuss and list the many ways a believer can serve God and neighbor.

  3. How does the smallest child - a baby - serve God’s kingdom?

  4. How might a person with disabilities or someone who lives in a remote area away from a congregation serve others?

  5. Look up the word serve in a dictionary. One meaning is “to be of use.” What is the best use for a person who has had their sins forgiven?

  6. Why do we serve with happiness?

2024_04_Pub_AprVZ_HF_An Opportunity to Serve
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