“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

A few days back I was cleaning out my wallet. If you are like me, you stick certain receipts in there that you may need later, and then you forget about them. My driver’s license, hunting and fishing license, a few grocery store and gas station reward cards, gift cards and three $1 bills were also in there. Sorry I don’t mean to brag about my wealth.

Stuck in the back, I also found a membership card. In 2019 I went with our son as he was relocated to Fort Bliss, Texas. While I was there, we stopped in a gun shop. They had an indoor range and would allow you to rent any of their guns to shoot. They had a couple that I was interested in shooting. So I paid my fee and joined their gun club.

Why did I join? I wanted what they could offer me. I wanted what they could provide me with. I wanted to be able to use their facilities when I wanted to. I was interested in what I could get from them.

Many people approach church membership in the same way. “What can the church do for me?” ”I am going to sit right here on this pew and wait for my needs to be met.” “I am going to join so that I can use their sanctuary to be married in.” “I am joining to have somewhere to be buried or hold a baby shower.” “I am going to be a part of a church so that someone will come and visit me.”

Peter gives us a different definition of church membership.

He lets us know that church membership is about serving, not being served. Peter reminds the church that we all — yes, each and every one of us — has God-given talents and abilities and God Almighty expects us to use them to serve Him inside and outside of the church.

I believe this is why so many churches are struggling today; people join a church with the same attitude that they join the country club, for the perks. They want to use the tennis courts, golf course and swim in the pool. Yes, there are many countless blessings that come along with being a part of a church family, but our obligation is to serve.

The Bible never calls us to ride a pew and watch others while they serve. The New Testament often compares being a Christian to being an athlete or a soldier. Why are those comparisons made? Because athletes and soldiers are active: They serve and they work hard and they work together. They understand that it is their obligation to put in the time and effort for their team to succeed.

I want to encourage you, if you are not already, step up and serve in your local church. If I may reword a great quote, “Ask not what your church can do for you, but what can you do for your church.”