The Trumpet Sounds: Saved to serve

By Barry Pettit - Religion Columnist

This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of September 11. It was a day when pure evil attacked our nation and took the lives of so many. I remember where I was that day, and you probably do as well. We will never forget what we lost that day.

However, another thing I will never forget was seeing so many different people come together to rescue, serve, and do everything in their power to make a difference after the attack. I remember people coming to churches all over the nation and praying. I remember seeing firemen, first responders, policemen, nurses, and volunteers coming together to deal with the aftermath of the attack.

It truly showed us in spite of an attack from the hearts of pure evil we can still come together as Americans in the worst of times. People rose up from everywhere to serve in a time when they were needed the most. That’s what good people do. They serve, they help, they make a difference. In the book of Joshua there was a challenge to rise up and serve in a time when it was desperately needed. Joshua challenged the people with these words:

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

The challenge hit the air like a lightning strike. The old general was 110 years old. His time on this earth was almost done, and he was delivering essentially his last word to his people. After wandering with the Israelites for 40 years, leading them into the Promised Land, and shaping them into a nation, what was the most pressing thing on old Joshua’s mind? A call to serve the one true God. Joshua knew that his people had a sometimes-fickle relationship with God. They were easily annoyed. They got distracted. They were impatient. They made demands. They wanted God to do what they wanted God to do. So, before leaving them, Joshua knew it was time to draw a line in the sand. He was calling them to a decision: Choose whom you will serve—whether it’s God or something else.

One of the problems we face today is that we live in a society that says you’re successful when others are serving you. However, Jesus taught that true success is actually the opposite. He taught us that true success comes with serving God and serving others! We live in an age of entitlement where many people think that the world owes them something. However, that’s not the Christian way. We are called to rise up and serve in all times. We serve a Lord who was the servant of all, and we are called to be the same. In the end we all serve something in this life.

Some things in this world never change. Just like the Israelites in Joshua’s time we face an endless list of things we could put in front of God. We may or may not have more false gods available to us today, but they certainly look different than they did back then. Either way, the result is the same: These distractions come between us and God, and they compete with the Creator for our time and devotion. As a result, just like our ancient ancestors, we’re easily annoyed. We get distracted. We’re impatient. We make demands. We want God to do what we want God to do. We’re standing at the moment of decision, and Joshua is drawing a line in the sand for us, too: Choose this day whom you will serve.

This Sunday at South Side our message will be entitled “Saved To Serve.” Sunday School is at 9:30 and worship begins at 10:45. If you come, you’ll be welcomed and invited to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee before we start. We would love to have you and your family worship with us!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Minister

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Columnist