One of the blessings of the last few years has been the privilege of flying out of a small regional airport in our hometown. It is only about 20 minutes from my house (depending on who is driving!), and it is never busy. I can show up about 30 minutes before a flight, park a few spaces from the terminal, and get through security quickly. A regional carrier helps me connect to flights to many other places, and allows me to be close to the house when I return. It has been one of the Lord’s little gifts to me in traveling and I am grateful.
The airline workers and TSA agents have all become familiar faces, and someone usually says, “Where are you preaching this week?” as I pass by. Last week as I went through security one of the gentlemen who is always very kind, said something tremendously encouraging. He said, “When our military guys fly out we always say, ‘Thanks for your service.’ But what you are doing is just as important so today I wanted to tell you, ‘Thanks for your service’.”
I have been reflecting on his words, and would like to pass along a few thoughts for all who are serving the Lord in any way.
Your service is both work and warfare. Anyone engaged in the work of the gospel is operating on an active battlefield! There are no retired or off duty soldiers in the Lord’s army. It is frontlines work, spiritual warfare, to charge against the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18) and pull lost souls out of the fire (Jude 23). Satan hates it and fights back, but all of Heaven is at your back and the Holy Ghost’s power is at your disposal. Be “a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2;3). “Thanks for your service.”
Your service is to man, but it is for God. The greatest service you can ever offer to someone is to humbly share with them the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul said that he was “servant to all…that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22). But we must never forget that our service is ultimately for the Lord alone. Our Lord Jesus was the ultimate Servant and we are all eternally grateful for His work! Now, He is the Master and we continue to serve, not because people are receptive or grateful, but because Christ is worthy. “Thanks for your service.”
Your service affects time and eternity. All work done honestly and well is to be admired. I deeply appreciate those who labor in the service industry. (More on that here.) Our church uses a nice gospel tract that expresses gratitude to servers and can be left with a generous tip. Most “service” is for temporal needs. The service of the Lord makes a difference for both time and eternity. This is labor that you will meet at the judgment seat of Christ one day! “Thanks for your service.”
Perhaps someone may say, “Thank you for your service.” Maybe no one will. Regardless, we are not doing it for them – we are doing it for Him who called us! The greatest joy will be to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Until that day, know that God is using you. Rest in the promise that “your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.
What you are doing is important – it is eternal – so today I want to say, Thanks for your service.