To live a life in the kingdom of God that is focused on his glory calls for sacrificial love and a heart committed to service. This article explains what this means for family and church life, and how Christians can be servants to the world they live in.

Source: Clarion, 2017. 3 pages.

Living with a Vision for Service in the Kingdom of God

How does your faith in the Lord impact your life? Is there a danger that you become so busy with the daily routines of life that your focus on Christ becomes lost? Faith can easily feel like something that we just paste onto our life. When we lose our focus on Christ, we no longer have a clear vision for service to the Lord. As members of Christ we are called to lead productive lives in the kingdom of God. Only with a clear vision for God's calling can we actively direct our life in his service and for his glory.

We are living in a difficult time for God's people. The spiritual attacks against believers are intensifying, but the need for the faithful witness of the gospel message has never been greater. While opposition to Christ grows, there are also greater opportunities to fill the void in our culture with the good news of salvation. That means there is an urgent need for faithful ministers of the gospel. We pray that the Lord may lay on the hearts of godly men a heartfelt desire to serve in the ministry of their Lord.

A sacrificial love🔗

I suspect that in our culture the pursuit of the ministry does not hold much appeal when we consider the personal sacrifices it involves. There are many years of study and, once in the ministry, there are many challenges in preaching to sinners and ministering to people struggling with messy lives. So, who are the kind of men who will think about pur­suing such ministry? They are men who have a heart for their Saviour, Jesus Christ, and are concerned for those who struggle with the cares of life. They are deeply concerned about the lives of those who are lost.

Ministers of Christ need to have a passion for their Lord. I recently heard a speaker tell about many young French men who, after studying in Geneva for the ministry in the time of the Reformation, returned to pastor churches in France. They left Geneva saying to one another, "I will see you in glo­ry," for they had no expectation to see each other again. On average a French minister had a life expectancy of two years before they were martyred for the faith. These men lived with a whole-hearted commitment to their Lord and Saviour and were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for their Lord.

I would hope that Christ's church today continues to be filled with men and women who have a heart for their Lord and earnestly seek to serve him sacrificially with their whole life. Not everyone has the skills nor the opportunities to pursue a calling in the ministry but being active in the service of the Lord should resonate in the hearts of everyone. I do think that in our western culture the devil undermines this enthusiasm for Christ, for there are so many careers that allow us to pursue other desires of our heart. Jesus writes to the church in Laodicea that "you are lukewarm." They have lost their first love and Jesus identifies the reason: they are rich and have acquired wealth, therefore they say they do not need a thing from the Lord (Rev 3:17). Jesus identifies how our wealth and riches and opportunities for great careers can undermine our passion for him as Lord.

A heart for service🔗

So how can the church be filled with men and women who have a passion for their Lord? How can our seminary be full of men filled with a passion for the ministry? By becoming a people filled with a vision for service to the Lord. God's people cannot coast through life, but through the power of the Spirit we are called to challenge ourselves to better serve our Lord to his glory. Too easily our vision becomes short sighted, as we focus on earthly goals that will all pass away rather than longing for the coming of the Kingdom.

God himself gives the example of living with vision and purpose. Jesus Christ told Nicodemus in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Then he concludes, God's purpose is not to condemn but to save the world. To save the world is the vision that directs the whole life of Jesus Christ. His whole focus is to do the work his Father has given him to do. At a certain point during his ministry the disciples were astonished that Jesus was setting out for Jerusalem because they knew there was great danger in the city. Christ knew what was waiting for him there, for he says in Mark 10:33 that in Jerusalem he would be betrayed and condemned to death and killed. He sets out for Jerusalem with purpose. He says, "I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many."

Christ did not focus on his own needs. If he had listened to his disciples, he would have turned away from Jerusalem to spare himself the suffering and pain of this life. He did not focus on the short-term goal of making his own life as pleasant as possible, but he kept his focus on the much greater goal, the life and salvation of his people.

The greater focus🔗

The Lord Jesus reveals that there is so much more to this life than the short-term goal of making our earthly life as comfortable as possible. In our society people only live for the material things. But Christ constantly warns us that the material things, our money and possessions, they will all pass away. And yet we get pulled into the false narrative that our material goods are what really matter, that they are the things most necessary for my life. Therefore we lose sight of the greater narrative of God's work in our life.

The wonderful result of the gospel is that it gives us an eternal perspective. It changes the vision I have for my life, for the question is no longer, "What is good for me?" but "How do I serve the Lord my God?" That is our new vision. Without this vision we will walk about aimlessly without accomplishing the work of our Lord.

A vision for service🔗

As parents we want to instill this vision into the lives of our covenant youth by teaching them about the saving work of Jesus Christ for them. Our concern is not only that they look to Christ for their salvation, but that they also prepare themselves for God's calling in his kingdom. We want our children to develop a vision for how they may serve their Lord, since he has bought them with his blood.

Husbands and wives also need to develop a godly vision for how they will serve one another. There is always the danger that our vision is focused on the here and now. Hus­bands and wives so easily put all their energy into providing for the material well-being of their families. From a human perspective, the material things seem to be the most press­ing and yet the greater need is the spiritual one. Therefore we need to develop a vision in which we seek to serve our spouse as Christ sacrificially served us. Serving Christ must be reflected in how we serve our spouse and care for our family.

As members of Christ, we need to develop a heart for service. Christ calls men to develop themselves to serve as leaders in their families and in the church. Developing the gifts for Christian leadership is only possible through developing a loving relationship with Christ. Women need to develop a vision for service within the church, so that all the members feel that they are loved and being cared for.

No retirement in the Kingdom🔗

This new vision must go beyond our family and church community. When the kingdom of Christ becomes the new focus in your life, it will impact every square inch of your life, including our retirement. In our culture, retirement has become the goal for which everyone strives. Many see retirement as the golden years when we deserve to enjoy a life of leisure and pleasure. Christians too are easily pulled into the false narrative that this is our time, and that we now have the right to enjoy life as we desire. The reality is that in the kingdom of God there is no period of retirement. God does not call us to serve him for sixty-five years and then suddenly says, ''You have done enough, you are free to do whatever you like." It is important even in retirement to develop a vision of service to the Lord. In our society, the Lord gives seniors the opportu­nity to enjoy freedom from the daily grind of life that allows them to focus on other activities of service in his kingdom.

When Christ came to this world, he never lost sight of his Father's calling to save his people. He directed his whole life to fulfilling his saving work. At the end of his earthly life, he called his apostles to go and make disciples of all nations. The apostles never lost sight of the vision Christ gave them. They faithfully proclaimed the gospel to the world, even in the face of great hostility. Through the faithful work of his apostles, Christ caused his kingdom to spread through the whole world. Today the Lord sets before his church the same vision, to go and witness his name in all the earth.


If we understand that Christ's purpose for us is to serve him, then we need to think through how we will do that. Parents need to think about how they will parent, office bearers how they will give spiritual direction to their sheep, ministers how they will serve the sheep under their care, and as people living in this world, how we will serve those who are lost in our community. The Lord does not call us to do heroic acts, but to simply serve our brother and sister in love, and to show care and compassion to those who live without hope in this world.

We need to think about what gifts the Lord has given us so that we may serve him to the glory of his name. Do I have the gift of hospitality or the ability to visit the lonely in my community? Do I have the skills to assist my neighbour with some project that needs to be done? There are so many opportunities to build relationships with others both in the church and in the community. If we live with the vision Christ gives, we will look for those opportunities in which we can share the most important thing in our life, and that is our relationship with Christ, my Saviour. If he is the focus in your life, then you will seek every opportunity to encourage others to make him the focus in their lives. Our ultimate vision is to bring glory to our Lord. He must be the passion of our heart.

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