This command brings out a biblical truth. We have been saved for service. But if our service is not rooted in love, we have missed the most important aspect of service. Make no mistake; our hearts are more important to God than our hands!
I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. (Psalm 50:9-12)
God does not “need” our service. The Gospel is not a Help Wanted advertisement for the people of God. To be sure, we are called to serve our God, but our primary service is heart-service. God wants our hearts to beat for Him. He will tolerate no rival, for He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). Sometimes we can get so caught up in serving our God with our hands that we forget all about bringing our hearts to our service.
But this is not for you! The Pharisees served God, but only with their hands. Jesus said their hearts were far from Him. The psalmist tells us that God owns everything and has everything and needs nothing from us. The logical inference is that whatever we give to Him must be given through a heart of love. David made this crystal clear in the very next chapter of Psalms:
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17)
When our hearts are “broken and contrite,” our hearts are beating for Jesus; when our hearts are beating for Jesus, service is more than simply service. It is a privilege to put a heart on display that beats with humble gratitude for God. The Christian is to be thankful, not only for the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also for the work He is still completing in the world and in us.
The King of kings will complete what He started . . . and that includes what He has started in you! He is not finished with you yet. And as part of that process, He has ordained service as a sanctifier in the lives of His people. But the only service that sanctifies is service that flows from a heart of love.
So . . . what has your heart been beating for lately? Have you been serving God out of a sense of duty or a sense of devotion? Have you been serving like a slave or like a son? When duty is our motivation for service, there is no joy. But when devotion moves our hands, the joy of the Lord is the strength for the service.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!