Okay, so if those words sound familiar, it’s because they are a slight twist on John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Presidential inaugural address when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” I have decided to borrow those words and rephrase them slightly for the context of the church.
Ask not what your church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church
I think this gets to the heart of the way we need to be thinking as Christians today. We live in a consumeristic culture, where a constant question in approaching any activity is, “What’s in it for me?” And that attitude can carry over to church life. We can approach church with the same attitude: “How is the church going to meet my needs? How will this benefit me and my family?” But, those are the wrong questions. You see, the church doesn’t exist to serve all your needs. God has placed you in a church to serve others, and in doing so, serve God. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
There was this one occassion where two of the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Lord we want you to do for us whatever we ask!” (Mark 10:35). They were being selfish, clearly. Basically they wanted Jesus to guarantee them the two highest places of honor in His kingdom. And Jesus used the ocassion to tell them and the other disciples that they had their focus all wrong. He said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-44)
It’s about looking around and asking, “How can I serve?” “What needs can I do something about?” “What areas of the church could use some help?” Even Jesus, who is God, demonstrated that attitude. He came, in his first coming, not to be served, but to serve. And His sacrificial service brought us eternal life. What a Savior He is! And yet, He doesn’t save us so we can sit around and wait to go to heaven. He saved us that we might serve others and Him. So, prayerfully….
Ask not what your church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church.