SERVICE IS HEART-COMMINTMENT
I had just returned from Reykjavik, Iceland, after attending the Trans-European Division stewardship advisory. I had chosen to fly with Icelandair, the Icelandic airline, on this trip. A few days later, I received an email message from the airline inviting my participation in their service-survey. The purpose of the survey is to discover ways of improving both the quality of service and the products offered to their passengers, in order to maintain and increase the loyalty of passengers to their airline. Airlines like this recognize that they exist to offer quality service and vie to better what other airlines may offer for the routes that they service. Indeed, the profitability of the company is dependent to a large extent upon their ability to offer the best service and products in their particular market niche. Service is the difference between a successful and profitable airline and a bankrupt, failed company.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."
SERVICE AND QUALITY
But what does service have to do with Christian stewardship? Everything! Both Christian stewardship and service begin with a theological understanding of Creation. True service is an awareness that I, as a created human being, was made after the “image” of the Creator God (Genesis 1:27) and that God makes everything beautiful (Psalms 139: 13,14). Service is an innate response to the invitation by God to extend His rule, creativity, and quality of workmanship to everything we are and do in this world (Genesis 1:28). As Christian stewards, God expects us to demonstrate and express this by the way we live. In doing so we will reflect in our daily lives His creatorship and His standard of being. The awareness of the briefness of life and the certainty of death brought the wise man in the Wisdom literature to this conclusion: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The ultimate standard and goal for living is to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In the corporate church, service may also mean our ability to represent God accurately by delivering top ministry products to the world in which we live.
SERVICE AND WITNESS
SAs in the instance of Icelandair, service is a call to stakeholders (members and employees) in the company to be committed to the mission of the organization. As Seventh-day Adventists, our mission is to make disciples for Jesus Christ in this world, and to help people experience Him as their Savior and Lord. This call to be partners with God in mission includes living as faithful followers of Jesus in the home, the market place and the community. Jesus sums up this call with the following challenge to His disciples: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Witness is a person, and not a program.
SERVICE AND WORSHIP
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other."
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus called His disciples and the multitude to worship the Creator God by saying, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). While the illustration used here was financial wealth (actual money), Jesus was in fact calling His followers to a higher plane of living—it’s called worship. It is the kind of worship that focuses on the Giver, and not the gifts; a worship that dwells on eternal values and not on temporal benefits. The kind of worship advocated by Jesus is God-centered, and not works-oriented. This is the worship and service that is acceptable to God.
In Revelation 14:7 the first of three angels delivers an urgent cry for the times in which we live, answering any of our questions to do with the elements of worship, service and stewardship: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."