(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia)
One evening, I got a call-out to see a patient. It was a busy day and already getting late, but I knew the patient would appreciate me coming as opposed to calling out a locum. As I parked the car and prepared to do this last consult, a thought came into my head – “All for Jesus!”
My mind had been running through different scenarios of what I might have faced that evening, but in that moment my heart stood victorious, energised and ready for any challenge. For Christ, I would do anything. For Christ I would give anything. For Christ, everything was worth it. All for Jesus!
This got me thinking about how we so often value our right to do what we want to, to be unrestricted in every way. Yet, what if freedom is actually greater than our own rights? What if it is actually tied up in servanthood rather than in self?
If we love and trust our God, would we be willing to be always on call for His kingdom? When I look at my life and the testimonies God has given me, I want my answer to be yes and always yes, because I see it is in freedom and joy that I can serve and worship Him daily!
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Part of my job as a doctor involves an aspect of on-call. While there are colleagues to cover certain things, there are also times when someone specifically needs to talk to me. I also work with nursing home patients and that means I’m technically always on-call, though triaging and delegation can ease this load a bit. I generally keep my doctor’s bag in my car so that I am prepared with at least the basics for a consult.
What happens when God calls us? Are we ready?
There is a call on our lives to walk in our God-given purpose, to be loved by God, love Him, and love those around us, to grow in the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and to be prepared, always, to give an answer to those who ask about the hope we have in Christ.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…” (1 Peter chapter 3, verse 15).
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So we have a calling as witnesses of God’s kingdom, but where do we find opportunity? Over the years, I feel God has opened my eyes to see more and more opportunities around me. As I intentionally seek to take hold of these opportunities, it becomes easier and easier to find them. Kindness and goodness can be delivered in so many ways – a listening ear, an encouraging word, an embrace, a gift, a helping hand, a hard-working attitude.
It might take effort at first to change our behaviour and perceptions, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can grow in this. As we become more like Christ, our eyes are transformed to see more like Him. As we see more like Him, we recognise more easily how much He loves people, how much He desires for the world to be saved.
There are abundant opportunities to serve if we ask God to help us see them.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians chapter 6, verse 10).
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With Freedom and Joy
Servanthood can seem onerous, like something that ties us down. The Bible, however, gives a counter-cultural image of what is means to be a servant. Unlike chores, our service is out of love. Unlike restraints, servanthood frees us to live in joy. Our master is not one we need to please for a reward, but one who calls us to serve so that we can enjoy the riches already given to us. To be a servant is not meant to be tiring, but instead refreshing.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
(Matthew chapter 11, verses 29-30)
There is, of course, a balance to be found in working and resting but the key to this balance is found in our attitude towards the kingdom of God. When we serve God with a works-focussed attitude, we run into burn-out and fatigue. When we let God lead our serving, we are empowered to know when to say yes, when to say no, when to persist, and when to stop.
Service to God is done in freedom and joy when that service draws its encouragement from our daily walk with Him.
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I trust that God knows my needs and my limitations. I trust that His way is good, that He knows better than I do, how to bless the world and how save it. I want to see His kingdom come, to declare that I am willing to hear His call and obey, wherever and whenever that might be.
May God work His salvation through each one of us daily and speak, for we are listening.