A life that is purpose-driven is a life committed to the service of God. Let’s never think that we have arrived, and we are doing God a favour when we decide to serve Him. Before we came to this world, God had an assignment for us and our arrival on earth was our commitment to fulfil that assignment by taking advantage of as many opportunities to serve with our time, talents and resources.
“Your true service to God isn’t when you’ve been offered a reward or when it is convenient but when you go the extra mile to serve, expecting nothing in return.”
When we stop serving, we stop fulfilling God’s purpose for us. When we stop fulfilling God’s purpose for us, we stop living and are merely existing. Service is ministry and we have all been called into ministry. Have you discovered how God wants you to serve Him and others? Sadly, for many who are only pursuing their selfish ambitions, they will find out too late that there was more to life than just that.
If you went to a palace, you won’t see the king, queen or princes serve anyone. The servants are there to serve. And they serve to earn a pay but we serve responding in obedience to God. There may be a reward but that shouldn’t be our motivation.
“A purpose-driven life is committed to the service of God.”
Servants have a different heart and that’s why they serve. They don’t insist on their way, they are humble, teachable and do as they are told. If we will serve God, we must ask Him for a new heart that is obedient, humble, compassionate, patient, faithful and focused. We cannot pursue with full focus God’s purpose for our lives and walk by opportunities to serve.
It’s not what we’ve been asked to do or what positions or titles we possess that matters but who we have been called to serve. We may serve under certain people, we may serve alongside others, we may serve in a certain capacity for a short or a long time, but our focus should be on God who has called us all into ministry.
Let’s take a look at Joshua and glean a few lessons from his life of service. The first time his name is mentioned in the Bible, the children of Israel were attacked by the Amalekites as they journeyed from Egypt to the Promised land. With no experience nor sophisticated weaponry, Moses instructs Joshua to rally a team of amateur soldiers to fight back.
Moses prays to God all day as Hur and Aaron support his weary arms while Joshua leads this battle against the Amalekites. Joshua was not a soldier, he had not fought any wars before now but when he was given a task, he stepped out in faith and obedience. This was his first opportunity to serve God and His people.
Some of us would have given excuses explaining why we are not the best person for the job, or procrastinating while the enemy was advancing, we would have been negotiating for a reward with Moses before making a commitment or telling everyone how Moses is avoiding such an important role and has delegated it to us. And the list goes on of all we do when we refuse to serve.
“When we stop serving, we stop fulfilling God’s purpose for us.”
Joshua did what he could, but God swore to eliminate the Amalekites at the right time. And sometimes the opportunities God entrusts to us may be something little or mundane. He isn’t looking at how much we can accomplish but whether we will be obedient.
And because Joshua was obedient and faithful, Moses employs him as his assistant. Could we have missed out on greater opportunities to serve because we walked by the ones, we thought that were inconsequential? If we are not faithful and fruitful in the tasks God has given to us, He won’t give us anymore to do.
Joshua assumed that he was just serving as an assistant, but he had no clue that he would lead the children of Israel into the promised land. God saw Joshua’s heart to serve and God instructed Moses to begin the handover of some details with Joshua because he would succeed him.
The next time Joshua has an opportunity to serve, Moses needed twelve spies to send to the promised land. Twelve men were picked at random and Joshua was one of them. He doesn’t turn down the request, he isn’t busy with other things, he is willing and available. He isn’t afraid of stepping out by faith into uncharted territories. Joshua has a personal relationship with God and when he gets to the promised land, he is able to visualise their possession through a different perspective.
While ten of the spies return with a report of doom and gloom, afraid about taking possession of the land but content with going round in circles in the wilderness, Joshua and Caleb bolster everyone’s courage as he tells them that God is able.
Even if Moses was thinking of handing over to one of the other ten spies, their report was a confirmation that they may lead the Israelites back to Egypt or settle in the wilderness. And many of us continue to complain about not having the opportunity to serve or want to be given more responsibilities but how will anyone entrust more to us when we neither share nor support the vision of the team we have been called to serve. Joshua wasn’t seeking for titles or positions, he wanted to do whatever he could to get God’s people to the promised land.
It doesn’t matter what role we are given to serve, it doesn’t matter who gets most of the work done, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as we are doing our bit and contributing to the big picture of God’s ultimate plan for this world. God hasn’t asked any of us to be famous but to be faithful. And when all hands are on deck and we are serving in our various capacities, we won’t have any time to compare or compete with anyone.
At the end of a winding journey of forty years in the wilderness, only Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who left Egypt and went into the promised land because all the others had died in the wilderness. Joshua wasn’t the best or the perfect of the lot, he was just different. God had this to say about Joshua: He had a different spirit, and he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.
If our lives will be purpose-driven, we must possess a different spirit, we must stand out and be set apart from everyone else. Our commitment to the Lord must be wholehearted. We can’t expect God to use us to do great and mighty things if we are not fully committed.
Some Israelites were just following in the throng, they were not in touch with God, they did not duly understand His plans for them. Others were looking out only for their survival, clueless about what God had done and where God was taking them to. And a handful were angry with Moses and wished that they were back in Egypt. But Joshua was different, he knew who he was, he knew why he was where he was and where God was taking them to. He was committed to God by serving the team the best way he could.
And one day Moses climbs up a mountain but never returns, the children of Israel mourn for thirty days because the great leader who led their rescue from Egypt had died. Then God speaks directly to Joshua: Moses, my servant is dead, arise and go over this Jordan into the land that I have promised you.
Leading God’s people wasn’t about clinging to titles and positions, for Joshua it was about committing the rest of his life wholly to the service of God. When Joshua started serving in his first assignment, he had no clue where he will end up or what God’s plans were. And for many of us when we say yes to God and step out in faith and obedience, we have no clue what God will do in, with and through us.
Unlike some who struggle with an air of importance or who try to be controlling or domineering when they are called to lead others, leading in a different role wasn’t any trouble for Joshua, he just continued serving as he had always done but now on a larger scale.
And it’s easy to conclude that God’s purpose for Joshua was leading the Israelites into the promised land. It was only a part of it but every other previous opportunity of service was preparing him for this. Don’t wait till you have a great task assigned to you or till someone lays their hands on you to commission you into ministry, every day brings with it opportunities to serve God. While we wait to get to our ‘promised land’, let’s serve as much as we can in the ‘wilderness’.
Do you desire to fulfil God’s purpose for your life? Ask God for a heart of a servant, take advantage of as many opportunities to serve. Your true service to God isn’t when you’ve been offered a reward or when it is convenient or easy but when you serve expecting nothing in return. If you want to make a difference, leave an imprint or change this world, you must begin by serving.