I originally submitted this article in response to a request from Gateway Life magazine that was sent to choir members for articles about "Passion." While, mine was not selected to be published, I thought my friends might like to read it:
A Passion To Serve, by Jerry Schultz
Our passions, talents and abilities are gifts from God that give us purpose and a place of service. When we devote our time and dedicate our gifts to serving, we can experience a special kind of joy and connection to other believers.
For many years, I developed my skills and pursued excellence in my career as a music teacher, but did not use my gifts in the church. I didn’t intend for that to happen, but after graduating from college, moving around for my career and trying to find a new church home, it did. I went from being highly involved with church and campus ministries, leading worship and teaching Sunday School, to being an attender who didn’t serve at all. I had gone with friends to every revival, event or Christian concert I could. Now I sat through one service per week, often by myself, with few meaningful relationships in the church. Eventually, I stopped going. Gathering together with God’s people had been my favorite thing. Now I felt disconnected and alone. I had forgotten the importance of fellowship and I suffered because of it. Hebrews 10:25 prompts: Let us consider how to spur each other on to love and good works, not giving up meeting together…but encouraging on another.
Interestingly, it was an invitation to serve that brought me back. After an orchestra gig one weekend, a fellow musician asked if I would come play for the Easter services at his church. I received a warm, friendly welcome and instant comradery. I hoped he would invite me back and when the invitation was extended, I gladly accepted and soon joined the church. Within a year, I began planning a move to Texas to attend Seminary.
I am so grateful to have found the choir here at Gateway. (and the orchestra at NRH Baptist Church) It has been a place where I have received healing and ministered to others. I have grown, strengthened my craft, developed friendships and really connected to the Body of Christ. It’s fitting that our volunteer ministry is called “Serve,” because serving is the key to unlocking relationships in the church. I encourage everyone to find a place to plug in, serve others and connect.
It is important to be good receivers of God’s gifts. When we are willing vessels, dedicated to His purposes, God pours into us so that we can pour into the lives of others. Colossians 3:23 exhorts: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. We should passionately endeavor to steward our gifts by developing them to their fullest potential and using them to glorify God and strengthen the church. Don’t make the mistake I made. Don’t give up. Keep meeting together. Keep Serving. When we enthusiastically devote ourselves to finding and fulfilling our purpose, we can truly enjoy our role in the Body of Christ. Remember the encouragement of 1 Peter 4:10: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace.