The Trail Life Oath begins with “On my honor, I will do my best, to serve God and serve my Country…”
How does a Trailman serve his God or his country? Let’s take one at a time and start by examining the concept of “serving God”.
NOTE: not all Trailmen are Christians – some may live in a Christian family and be trying to figure out their faith, others may worship in a different faith practice with their family, but for this article, we’ll focus our discussion on serving God in light of the Christian faith.
Basic definitions of the word “serve” include:
- To be a servant
- To be of use
- To be worthy of reliance or trust
- To discharge a duty or function for another person or an organization
Through our study of the Bible, we can recognize God’s design for us – our purpose and calling:
- We were created to glorify Him and enjoy fellowship with Him (http://www.creeds.net/Westminster/shorter_catechism.html).
- Ephesians 2:10 states “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
- Further we’re directed to focus on doing these good works for the Lord’s benefit and glory instead of to celebrate each other’s accomplishments in vanity (Col 3:23-24)
- Our interest in “good works” isn’t to win God’s favor or to “earn” our redemption from sin, but in grateful appreciation of His grace and love demonstrated toward us while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8; James 2:14-16)
So the question becomes, how do we practically act as a servant, ready to be used, worthy of reliance to discharge a duty or function (i.e. “good works”) for God’s glory?
- First, we must humbly and consistently recognize that our service to God is in appreciation of all that He has done for us – He does not require service or anything from us – we are creatures serving our creator.
- Acts 17:25 states “He is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything”
- The “Walk Worthy, One Month Challenge” (Click Here) also reminds us of His provision and love for us, along with how we can “walk worthy” of that love.
- Secondly, God grants us the ability to serve Him for His glorification.
- 1 Peter 4:11 — “Whoever serves, [let it be] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
- Third, we are to serve in gladness and with an appreciative, generous heart
- Psalm 100:2 – “Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.”
- Romans 12:1-3 — “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
- Micah 6:8 – “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”
- Fourth, our service should be offered within the context of obeying His direction and commandments – the sum of the Word of God
- Deuteronomy 6:17 – “You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.”
- Deuteronomy 13:4 — “It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.”
- Deuteronomy 29:29 — “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
- 1 John 5:2-3 – “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
- Joshua 22:5 – “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”
- 1 Samuel 12:24 – “But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”
- Galatians 5:13 — “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”
- Fifth, the type of service we provide will vary based on individual skills, talents and gifts
- 1 Corinthians 12:14-31
- Sixth, we have been given an example to follow in Jesus and we have the Word to provide instruction, too.
- 1 Peter 2:21-25; Mark 10:45; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Dt 6:1-9
Serving God can be a very tall order, but when we realize that it is offered out of gratitude and that we’re really serving each other for His purposes and plans, there ought to be a joy that accompanies our effort instead of apprehension.
Additionally, it would be nearly impossible to fully and adequately cover our responsibility in this area within the scope of a blog article. We’re only trying to stoke your interest in digging deeper.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10