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Service to God: Meditation for the 17th Sunday after trinity

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Princewill O. Ireoba


Introduction
Last week, we meditated on having God on our side, which we concluded could be done by loving Him. Today, we are considering a way of loving God, namely, by rendering service to Him. The Collect for the day recalls the prayer of St Augustine of Hippo: “O God, Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they finally rest in Thee”. Based on this, it petitions God to “teach us to offer ourselves to Your (God’s) service, that here we may have Your peace, and in the world to come may see You face to face”. It highlights what we stand to gain in offering ourselves in service to God. Service to God is really rewarding. It brings peaceful blessing in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

Service to God is a devotion of the heart and the whole being to Divine cause, for the same reason and with the same feeling of God. It is not only working for, but also walking with God.

Lessons From The Ministry Of The Word
The OT passage (Neh. 6:1-16) portrays the requirements for devoted service to God. Nehemiah refused to be distracted or intimidated and was able to discern the insincerity and plots of his distractors. Eventually, he succeeded in accomplishing his task or fulfilling his mission to the silence of his gainsayers and God’s glory.

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The Epistle (1 Pet. 4:7-11) is a counsel on how Christians should live in this end of times. Christians should be careful of whatever they do, they should be loving and devoted to wholesome service for the good of man and to God’s glory.The Gospel (Matt. 25:14-30) is the Parable of the Talents. It illustrates the point that being ready for Christ’s coming demands a faithful and committed service, and not just playing it safe and doing little or nothing.

The Divine Demands And Requisites For Service To God
• Gladness Of Heart (Psa. 100:2)
This is a delightful, joyful, cheerful and willing heart. God should be served with pleasure and joy and not with compulsion, manipulation and grumbling.

• Faithfulness (1Cor. 4:2)
The master’s expectation of the steward is faithfulness. Our calling is primarily and more to faithful service than successful service. The work is the master’s, not the steward’s. It should, therefore, be done the master’s way, even when it is not palatable and agreeable to the steward. A steward should be loyal to his master and determined to passionately carry out the master’s tasks in his own terms. Faithfulness is the sum total of the requirements on the steward. It encompasses trustworthiness, obedience, responsibility, prudence, diligence and wholesome and sincere commitment to task. Good Success is God’s crown on faithful effort. Our part and indeed, duty is to be faithful.

• Sacrifice (Rom. 12:1)
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, sacrifice is “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help.” It is the disposition to do all that God wants at any point in time not minding the cost. Serving God requires sacrificing time, talents, finances, energy and everything to accomplish God’s purpose.

• Righteousness (Eph. 4:24)
Righteousness is the right relationship with God. It is forensic (declaring sinful mankind righteous through the work of Christ); imputed (freely giving mankind righteousness through the work of Christ); ethical (providing the indwelling Spirit who produces righteousness in mankind) and relational (restoring the fellowship of the Garden of Eden by Christ restoring the image of God [cf. Gen. 1:26-27] in believers).
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector,
God decrees (i.e. freely gives) and provides, but man must respond and continue to respond in repentance, faith, lifestyle, obedience and perseverance.

• Humanitarian (2Cor. 9:12)
Service to God meets human needs. “If someone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar… And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1Jn 4:20-21).

Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector,
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
princewillireoba@gmail.com


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Princewill Ireoba
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