REASONABLE SERVICE – PART 1
Romans 12:1 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
J F Kennedy in his inaugural address in 1961 to his countrymen, as the new American President, charged them with this popular quote “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. This was a call to higher service from the Americans. This statement from a human leader can be seen as being similar to Rom. 12:1 – the request for reasonable service from us.
What is similar between the two? The main similarity between Rom. 12:1 and the statement by JFK is the fact that they both call for a selfless service to a higher authority that the people believe in and are subject to. Why every American is so proud of their being number one nation and so believe that the country should be able to meet all their needs, some do not recognise the duties that also come from such privilege, hence the challenge by JFK. Similarly, many of us Christians only see God as the great provider that should continually meet our needs, without recognising our own responsibility towards Him.
The bible says is in Luke 12:48 that “but he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (KJV). If you are indeed saved, you should be gracious that the Lord has given you the grace to be saved and to be called His son or daughter. This is a privilege. The bible says again in Matt. 22: 14 that "For many are called, but few are chosen." As one of the few that are chosen, God deserves and demand a reasonable service from you.
Secondly, both charge from JFK and Paul have rewards. While Kennedy believes that a change of orientation from His subject would lead to a greater goods and increased productivity for America, and by implication better life for all (reward); a call for reasonable and higher service from God would be rewarded with abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven. The bible makes it clear that we have a God who is just. He said in His words in Heb. 6:10 that “for God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do” (NLT). Are you truly working for Him?
However, what are the differences between the call of JFK to American and the call of Paul to God’s children? First, while JFK was referring to an earthly country, the call of Paul to the Romans and by implication to all believers is a call for a heavenly country. The bible says that our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3: 20a), and as such our service should be heaven-focussed.
Secondly, while the reward envisaged by JFK is earthly (terrestrial), the reward from God is both terrestrial and celestial. The implication of this is that the reward from God would include abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven.
My dear brethren, I am persuaded that God would not owe anyone. Therefore, let us desire and work towards rendering unto God our reasonable service.
May His grace be sufficient for you.
Dr. Yinka Okude
RCCG Jesus Sanctuary, Northampton
HYMN: I AM THINE O LORD, I HAVE HEARD THY VOICE