Can you recall what they used to call places where you fill your car with gas? They weren’t called “gas stations” or “fueling centers,” but “service stations.” When you pulled in, someone would run out to greet you and serve you with gas, wash your windows, check your oil, check your tire pressure, and wish you well. Service stations also gave gifts and maps.
What is the first thing that comes to mind today when someone asks if you were ever “in the service”? Two things come to mind: “military service” and “serving others.” We are all in service in the army of God, no matter what our background. Our churches ought to be “service stations” for all people—places where we serve them, help them, check their spiritual oil, bring them to the fountain of life, light, hope, and introduce them to the King eternal.
NY13 is upon us. What are we doing to make it a success in bringing Christ to the people in this large city? Are our churches service stations in the community or just another edifice?
Peter gives a descriptive look at what it means to be the people of God. “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”—1 Peter 2:9, NKJV. This is a significant and encouraging affirmation of not only who we are but whose we are.
As we take part in NY13, let us exhibit those qualities to the people we meet. When we bring new believers into the church, let us not neglect them, rather lovingly nurture them. Help them to grow to full maturity. God has called each one of us to serve.
Service is an experience. God, who first loved us, took the first step in serving the lost and also a big risk in sending Jesus Christ to this world. We did not seek God; God sought us. God was the initial actor in the experience of service. We, as believers, should take the first step in helping and serving the people in our communities. Let us seize this golden opportunity during the NY13 meetings.
Service is an expression. We serve because we want to express our love to Him and our concern for the lost people of this big metropolitan city. Let us take advantage of the opportunity given to us to serve during these evangelistic meetings. This may be our last chance to serve.
Service is exercise. Here are two types of spiritual exercise: private exercise of prayer and Bible reading, and public exercise of Christian service. Bringing someone to hear the gospel during NY13 is a spiritual exercise.
Service is exaltation. To exalt means to lift up. Part of our service is lifting up Christ in our lives and in our community. If we exalt Christ as we should, we will have thousands of converts at the end of the NY13 evangelistic campaign.
Service is an extension. If you are a Christian, God will extend His hand of help down to you, and you, in turn, a helping hand to whom you are witnessing. God does not save us and then leave us to walk alone. Help someone to be saved through this tremendous opportunity God has given us with NY13.
Service is an expectation. Christians have something to live for; they are looking forward to something really wonderful. We are looking for and expecting a much better place than this world. We are heaven-bound people; so bring someone with you. Witness to someone during the NY13 evangelistic meeting and expect to see that person in heaven.
Let us seize the opportunity for service with commitment, courage, and joy, and let us all make 2013 a year to be remembered.
Leon Thomassian is the Atlantic Union Conference treasurer and trust services director.