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Serve or Be Served

by Jay Bowman


Why do you go to church? Is it to serve or to be served? Candidly speaking, go to church for both rea­sons. The Bible teaches that we carry away from the ser­vices something valuable to our souls. Teaching and edifi­cation, spiritual fellowship, exhortation and encouragement help us strengthen our faith and meet the discouragements of life. There is nothing wrong with that. It is the pur­pose of church life. We should take something home from the assemblies and we should realize the inestimable value of that benefit. If more people knew that, they would not forsake the assemblies.

But, obviously, if nobody gives, nobody gets. Far too many Christians want their children educated spiritually but they wouldn’t teach a class to save your life. They want a comfortable place to worship, but they won’t give of their means to provide it. They insist on social fellow­ship – but want others to provide it. They want a church with lots of young people, but they sense no obligation to pro­vide this advantage for the common good . In short, they want others to provide all the benefits for their own self­ish use. And, if they will, they will gladly claim them -­until they find a church that offers better.

Such a person ignores one of Jesus’ most fundamental teachings. He said, “I am among you as One who serves (Lk. 22:27). All followers of Christ ought to serve their brethren. People with a self-centered attitude are a lia­bility, not an asset. They are good only for the attendance record.

A church is a service organization. It provides a spiritual service. But, it can never offer any more than what its members provide. If a church is lifeless and dead, it is because its members are dead. If it is vital and lively, it is because its members care.


May 16, 1984

Abilene, Tx.

Also from JAY BOWMAN, THE COLLECTED WORKS, available on Amazon & Barnes and Noble

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