“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10)
“A Matter of Tired Legs”
Over the past several days I’ve been totally geeking out over the Olympics. The athletes have been incredible. The competition has been fierce. The victories have been sweet. And the defeats have often been dramatic.
In fact, one poignant example of such a defeat occurred this past Sunday afternoon. My wife and I watched in heartbreak as long-distance cyclist Mara Abbott held the lead in the women’s road race only to be thwarted within feet of the finish line. Three competing cyclists flew past her at the very last second. Her hard-earned prospects of winning an Olympic medal were shattered.
In the days following, I read an article published in the Los Angeles Times which covered the women’s road cycling competition. Speaking of Abbott, the article claimed that her loss was “simply a matter of tired legs.”
Why didn’t Mara Abbott win the gold? She grew weary when endurance mattered most.
The Costliness of Endurance
As I’m sure you know, this week marks our final Sunday morning of hosting two worship gatherings. Next week we’ll add a third service to the mix, which means that many of the things we’ve come to expect from LifePoint’s gatherings will change.
This significant shift in the life of our congregation beckons an important question, Will we endure in serving when it matters most?
You see, Scripture teaches that, through serving others, we embody the Good News about what Jesus has done to ransom us (Mark 10:43-45). That’s why faithful, enduring service for God’s mission is central to LifePoint’s understanding of what it means to follow Christ.
If I had to guess, most of us will probably nod in agreement to that, rattling off a “Yes and Amen” without giving much thought to it. But wait, not so fast. If endurance in serving is a vital part of discipleship, perhaps we should examine our lives a little more closely.
After all, Jesus demonstrated that serving others isn’t merely a concept to be theoretically affirmed. No, He gave up His life to serve us. It cost Him everything. And therefore it should cost us something as well, shouldn’t it?
But that makes us squirm a little bit. After all, Christlike service isn’t convenient by any stretch of the imagination.
I mean, what about those times when someone from KidLife sends you a Facebook message on Saturday afternoon asking you to “sub” in the third grade class because the person who was supposed to serve there came down with the flu? If you’re honest, wouldn’t you rather let someone else worry about teaching those crazy third graders?
Or what about when your alarm clock obnoxiously wakes you up at 5:45 on a rainy, cold Sunday morning because it’s your day to serve on the production team? Wouldn’t just be nice if it were someone else’s problem today?
It’s in the seemingly little moments like these that the true quality of our serving is exposed. Our natural aversion to serving when it’s inconvenient shows just how little we’ve grasped the heart of Christ.
Yet He is infinitely more committed to our endurance than we are. When we’re tempted to make excuses for not serving, He’s lovingly testing us, prodding us, and teaching us what it means to endure in serving the saints for His sake. He helps us endure faithfully when it matters most, which is why He put Hebrews 6:10 in the Bible. Just consider the profound encouragement it gives, “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints.”
Isn’t that wonderful?
In Christ, God delights in your good works. Not one act of service escapes His loving gaze. He sees you crawl out of bed early on that rainy Sunday. His attention is on you as you type the words, “Sure, I can serve in KidLife tomorrow” in that unexpected Facebook message. He will not overlook those simple, but important moments. They matter greatly to Him because they portray His heart of self-giving, cross-bearing love. And what’s more, God is using them to transform your heart and grow you in the likeness of Christ more than you realize.
So keep serving. Keep plodding. Keep up that steady output of faithful ministry. Don’t grow weary in showing love to the saints. Your endurance matters right now, perhaps more than ever. It matters for the church, for the mission and for your own growth in Christ. Do you believe that? I pray you do.
Songs for Sunday, August 14, 2016:
How Great is Our God
As performed by Chris Tomlin
Hallelujah, What A Savior
As performed by Austin Stone Worship
Grace And Peace
As performed by Sovereign Grace Music
Jesus Paid It All
As performed by Kristian Stanfill
As performed by The Modern Post