If we are going to be pleasing to God, then we must understand the master/servant relationship that exists between us which includes not only doing His will (Jas 1:25), but doing it with the proper attitude (2 Cor 9:7). These requirements don’t just apply to our monetary giving, but are applicable to every activity in our spiritual lives, including our worship (Psa 118:24; 122:1). Why, in a typical congregation, does the attendance drop roughly thirty percent from Sunday morning to Sunday night and Wednesday night? Why is it often difficult to motivate members to support a gospel meeting, work day, door knocking campaign, teach or serve as deacons or elders? Although there are exceptions, it is apparent that, in many cases, they just enjoy doing other activities more than serving or worshipping God. While many are not willing to admit this is the reason they don’t participate in certain functions, it is the unfortunate truth. There have been many seminars and workshops conducted over the years in largely futile attempts to ferret out the root cause of this problem and discover a solution. In spite of these valiant efforts the old “80/20 rule” still applies at most congregations. For those who may not be familiar with this axiom, it states “80% of the work of a congregation is usually done by 20% of the members of that congregation”.
For some time now the supposed key to church growth has been to cater to prospective members’ “felt needs” by offering programs and services that satisfy the desires of today’s prospects. Is this approach to church growth in accordance with Bible teaching on the purpose of the Lord’s church? There is no question that Jesus taught us to be benevolent toward those less fortunate, but often the work of providing basic necessities of life somehow transforms into an attempt to fulfill everyone’s wants instead of needs. If members of the Lord’s church were asked if they desire to spend eternity in heaven the nearly unanimous answer would undoubtedly be a resounding YES! If they were asked what heaven will be like surely words such as peace, love, rest and joy would be mentioned. What will heaven really be like? Will members who do not find joy and fulfillment in serving and worshipping God on earth find joy and fulfillment in heaven? As with all spiritual questions, the solution lies in the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God.
A search of the NKJ Bible reveals the words “servant, serve and serving” are found 1,005 in the Old Testament and 299 times in the New Testament. Granted, not all these verses refer to serving God, but many of them do apply to our responsibilities as children of God. A similar search for the word “worship” find its use 127 times in the Old Testament and 70 times in the New Testament. A study of applicable verses provides us insight into the relation of our efforts and attitudes on earth and our eternity in heaven. We know from Matt 6:19-21 that Christians are to lay up spiritual treasures in heaven by living a life pleasing to God. This would obviously include prioritizing our time and efforts in serving and worshipping Him with a joyful attitude. John continues this theme in Rev 14:13 by recalling a voice from heaven telling him those that die in the Lord will have their works follow them. Rev 4:10-11 captures John’s vision when he sees “the four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne and worship Him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created”. If the twenty-four elders will be forever worshipping God, will not the remaining saved be doing this also? John continues his vision of heaven in Rev 7:14-17: “And I said unto Him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: And He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
These passages confirm that those who remain faithful until death will be blessed to serve and worship God day and night forever and ever. If our number one priority here on earth is not to serve and worship God with a joyful attitude is it not time for an honest self-examination (2 Cor 13:5)? Eternity is a long time.