“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Serving to Win, by Randall D. Kittle

It was while I was in middle school that I first took a few summer lessons from the local park district and learned how to play tennis. But it wasn’t really until I was in high school (after I’d grown a bit … OK, quite a bit) that I discovered how much I enjoyed playing. From spring until fall, you could often find me playing tennis on one of the numerous neighborhood tennis courts around my hometown.

While I was never a great tennis player, I won most of my matches because I had such a big serve. When I played tennis my game was simple: serve hard; then take the net. If I worked hard to have a big serve, and then followed it up by guarding the net, I nearly always defeated my opponent and won the victory.

Now, I’m not sharing this because I’m feeling nostalgic. Neither am I trying to relive my bygone days of “glory.” I believe there is an important spiritual lesson here for us to learn, for this same truth is also true for you and I as believers in the kingdom of God. We, too, will defeat our opponent and win the victory when we are willing to serve the Lord hard and
then take our net … to evangelize. Just as you can’t even start a tennis match without serving, neither can we begin to push back the enemy and advance God’s kingdom until we become those who willingly serve.

We can see an example of how this works in the city-wide tutoring program a number of churches in my region our involved in. One of the reasons the tutoring program has been so effective at bringing people (children and their parents) into the kingdom of God is that any effort by the tutors to share their faith has first been proceeded by serving the child and their family.
Serve big first … then take the net!

Everyone Should Serve
In the kingdom of God, it is not just a few “spiritual giants” who are called to serve big; we are all called to serve the Lord fully and faithfully. Every truly born-again believer is called to be a minister in the kingdom of God. By that I don’t mean that everyone is suppose to go to Bible college, be ordained, and be paid as a full-time minister. We need to understand that the word translated as “minister” in the New Testament is a Greek word that literally means
“servant.” A minister is actually a person who willingly chooses to serve others, and the Bible says that this is something to which we are all called.

Serving not only makes the way for evangelism, it also helps conform us more completely into the image of Christ. By His example on this earth, Jesus showed us how important it is to have a servant’s heart, and He instructed His followers to do the same.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant … 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 10:43–45).

So let us heed the call to service, and serve the Lord heartily with a servant’s heart. If we will, the evangelistic nets will be more full in our midst, and the character of Christ will be more apparent in our lives.

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