Monday, June 1, 2009

For His Sake (or mine?)

Recently, I had a short chat with a regular customer who is a Christian:

"So, on which day do you close your stall?"


"Oh, that's good. You are honouring the Sabbath."

"Not really. I close my stall because I want to rest and go to church."

"But you are making a sacrifice since Sunday is the weekend and a good day for business. You can always come back and open the stall after the service."

"I tried that before but I find that I am not concentrating during the service because I am always thinking about what I need to do after it is over."

Actually, nowadays I don't feel like it is a sacrifice for me to close my stall and go to church on Sunday. For me, going to church is rest. I get refreshed when I hear the now word of God being preached by Pastor Prince (or the guest speakers) on Sunday. I am doing this for my own sake, for my own benefit.

There was a time though, that I felt that I was doing God a service by going to church on Sunday. That was when I was attending my previous church where I felt that I wasn't fed by the word of God. Going to church was a drag then, and I forced my family and myself to go because I thought I had to honour God that way.

Do you remember your dating days when you were happily courting your girlfriend (or if you are female, being courted by your boyfriend)? When you met your girlfriend at the appointed place, did you think that meeting her was your privilege or hers? Man, was I glad that my then girlfriend (who is now my wife) agreed to meet me! I wanted it so much and spent time making sure I looked good before I set out from my home (but I have to admit that the effort level went down a few notches after a few years :p).

How would you feel if your girlfriend was, in fact, not keen to meet you but agreed to meet you for your sake? Would it be an enjoyable date? Can you imagine going to church with that kind of attitude? I think God would rather you had stayed home!

The point I'm making is that I look forward to going to church and it is for my own sake that I'm doing it, not His sake. When I am doing this, yes, I am honouring God but it is incidental, not deliberate on my part.

Another customer overheard Pastor Prince "preaching" on my dvd player and told me to turn up the volume so that more people can hear the gospel. She thought that this is a good way for me to evangelize. I told her that I was playing the sermons because I wanted to listen to them myself, not because I wanted to evangelize. However, over the years, I have chatted with quite a number of customers about the gospel and given away quite a number of CDs to them, just because their interest were piqued from hearing Pastor Prince's voice playing softly in my stall while waiting for me to serve their orders.

Again, I was playing the sermons at my stall for my sake, not His sake but He is honoured in the process anyway. When you serve God in church through the many different ministries, are you doing it for His sake or yours?


Kat said...

Hey Stan,
This is a great post...I really enjoyed reading it..just like when we give our tithes and offerings, is it for His sake or mine?

Angie said...

Bro, forgive me for being sensitive but i do get sensitive nowadays with questions that point back to SELF :p

I think when we're not conscious of our serving, the question of His sake or our sake wouldn't need to surface isn't it? like the good works dead works question. it's a catch-22? situation. either way doesn't contribute to our walk with God. infact, it doesn't change our status with God at all! :D

Self efforts is the same! Yes, it is us doing/working to produce a result. Yet, by doing so, does not stop our Father loving us any less than when we let Him produce His result thru us, love us any more than He already does. Self efforts just frustrates the grace believer because it takes the focus off the grace provided and onto ourselves. am i making sense here? :p

Angie said...

oh dear, i think i was not only sensitive but blur la :p I misunderstood your question but i think it was a HS led blunder :p What i wrote gave me a revelation! :D Tks for the post!

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Angie,

I agree with you that "when we're not conscious of our serving, the question of His sake or our sake wouldn't need to surface isn't it?" :-)

Having said that, I was also trying to point out that when we serve in church, some of us may think that we are doing God a favour but in actual fact, we are the ones who benefit from our service (eg. we learnt some new skills, gained some revelation,etc) while God's purpose is fulfilled at the same time.

Angie said...

yes this snail understands now :D it happened to me many times. thinking i could be a blessing but got blessed instead. Daddy is so wonderful & so so wise! :)

Daughter Of Sarah said...

AMEN! Stan you are right. When we are blessed to attend service or serve or attend a ministry meeting or even fellowship, it is God's gift to us, not our gift to Him!

I think many people have the mentality that when they go to church, it is to please Him and if they don't go, He will smite them!

But I've told my friend that when you don't go, the devil is robbing you of your blessing!! That God's Word is given to bless us and to prosper our souls so every other area of our lives can prosper! It's not an obligation we must meet!