Strategic Planning involves understanding the context, picturing where we want to be and evolving a course of action. As we review our strategies and goals, what would be a God-inspired vision for service as we begin the year? Often we cry “use me Lord” and affirm our love for souls and His work. But the Bible has its own minimum requirements for a vision of service that is meant for God. This may be in the Church or in secular roles or even in family and private endeavour.
Romans [12:1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Gbile Akanni speaks below on what being a living sacrifice means…
There are seven points summarised from the text – related to what the Bible describes as reasonable service.
1.It is voluntary service to God – and not compelled through zealous prodding or the compulsion that often comes from a competitive group or organisation experience. We are to present our bodies rather than be presented. God lays His burdens on our hearts – often times through Godly leadership – and invites our voluntary surrender and submission.
2.We are to come as a “living sacrifice”. This means we hand over the control levers completely to God. This can be scary as God deploys not always based on our talents, preparations and expectations. But we trust Him knowing that as we obey all things work together for our good often in ways we cannot always discern.
3.Our best offer to God is our voluntary and obedient submission and not our potential, achievements or even performance. The best utilisation of our skills and abilities is in the hands of God and not us. A sacrifice can be used as the owner pleases – and is meant to be sacrificed on the altar. We cannot be elated when chosen for what we perceive as a choice assignment nor discouraged if put on the shelf for a period or assigned something we consider menial. Waiting for God can be the best service we can offer in some scenarios. Few can be trusted to do this.
4.Gains and outcomes of service do not belong to us. The honours should be returned to God. Similarly we may often find divine work unappreciated or disdained by men. Luke 16 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
5.Our service, by His grace, must be holy and acceptable to God and not men. Indicators for our success are understood only in the context of divine pleasure. Time alone with God gives us a better perspective of divine realities.
6.Sin, in the child of God, breaks communion with God and distorts perspective … setting us on the path of ambition and vanity – sometimes well meaning and justifiable. Repentance and forgiveness are critical even more so for God, in that He desires that we are connected to Him and better prepared to be used – something that sin will not permit.
7.Perhaps the greatest impediments to service to God are our best and noble intentions . The “living sacrifice” – may not have intentions ..albeit noble ones. The battle with self during visioning is not easy to win. Most will struggle on this criteria as we seek to find achievement instead of divine pleasure. These are often in conflict.
Do these points align with your vision of service for God. All other perhaps additional considerations must have these 7 minimum requirements satisfied.
May God find our service to be reasonable and pleasing in 2011 as we reflect and plan for a glorious year.