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One of the most common statements I hear from pastors pertains to the need for workers—for committed, reliable, and consistent volunteers. Every pastor’s dream is to have an overflowing army of eager, joyful volunteers. When I think of this, I am reminded of David’s words: “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power” (Psalm 110:3 NASB)

One commentary says the literal meaning of this verse is, “Thy people are free will offerings." 1 Another says this word (volunteer) refers to “an entirely cheerful readiness” and says that Messiah’s people will be, “...ready for any sacrifices, they bring themselves with all that they are and have to meet him. There is no need of any compulsory, lengthy proclamation calling them out: it is no army of mercenaries, but willingly and quickly they present themselves from inward impulse." 2

Even if it weren’t for this passage in Psalm 110, we would know that God’s will is for His people to serve Him effectively. Jesus Himself said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38 NKJV). If believers are to fully mature and to become all that God wants them to be, they will be laborers and workers. Ephesians 2:10 (MSG) says, “He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”

Pastors can and should teach about the importance of good works (e.g., Titus 3:8), but ultimately, the impetus and motivation to serve must come from within the hearts of believers as they allow God to do His work on the inside of them. I’ve long enjoyed the Amplified Bible’s rendering of Philippians 2:13: “ is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.”

I believe with all of my heart that we are going to see an army of workers arise—men, women, and young people—whose hearts God has touched to serve Him. Leaders and mature believers need to be ready to guide, direct, and mentor these fledgling servants, and perhaps one of the things we can do is to help them ask the right questions in order to get started and to stay on the right track as they serve God.

With that in mind, here are seven questions people should ask as they seek to begin serving the Lord.

1. What is my level of spiritual consecration?
As you consider that, let me ask you some other questions. Are you 100% sold-out to Jesus? Are you willing to sacrifice your comfort and convenience for someone else’s benefit? Is there anything you’re not willing to do for Jesus? Is there anything that you feel would be beneath you? In days gone by, it was not uncommon to hear people at the altar praying and dedicating their lives to God. A common, heart-felt prayer was, “God, I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll do what you want me to do. I’ll say what you want me to say.” Serving becomes easier when you’ve totally and completely surrendered all of your life and all of your heart to God. Consecration was clearly modeled for us in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus prayed, “...not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42 NKJV).

2. How is my servant's attitude?
Many will say they want to be like Jesus, but have they really considered what that entails? Jesus communicated plainly what it means to have a “kingdom attitude.” Matthew 20:26-28 (NKJV) says, “...whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”?

3. What is my level of practical availability?
A person can have all the ability in the world, but it will avail nothing if he or she does not have availability. I understand that people are busy, but have we become so busy that we have no time to serve God? We speak of giving God the first portion of our income, and that is good, but wouldn’t it be outstanding if all of God’s people gave Him a good portion of their time as well? Make it a priority to order your life in such a way that you can give God ample time in worship and in work. Make “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) a reality in your priorities and in the scheduling of your life.

   1 Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.
   2 Keil, Carl Friedrich and Franz Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996.

Copyright © Tony Cooke Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tony Cooke
Web site: Tony Cooke Ministries
Since 2002, Tony and Lisa have traveled full-time with an assignment of “Strengthening Churches and Leaders.” Tony’s passion for teaching the Bible has taken him to forty-six states and twenty-six nations. Tony, and Lisa reside in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and are the parents of two adult children, Laura and Andrew.

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