On November 28, 2020, I was privileged to speak at the annual youth programme of the Jesus Arena Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Magboro, Ogun State, Nigeria. The theme of the event was ‘A Chosen Generation.’ Below, I summarize the brief message I gave.
A Chosen Generation—1 Peter 2:9
Most nights, I pray with my family, and we typically close with a confession from 1 Peter, chapter 2 verse 9. I say ‘most’ just to admit that there are nights when we fail to pray. I do not speak as one who is perfect.
We say it to remind ourselves that we belong to God specially:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)
A Chosen Generation. A Royal Priesthood. A Holy Nation. God’s own People. These are weighty phrases that derive from the Old Testament. The Jews had for centuries known themselves to be God’s special people. And in fact, Peter had a Jewish audience in mind when writing his letter.
Since Christians believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah, they are fellow heirs of the promises of God. As such, they also possess that special status.
But this unique status implies a profound obligation:
That we may show forth his praises. We display his beauty, his glory and majesty for all the world to see.
Thus, as God’s chosen people, we have a great responsibility.
Called to Serve—1 Peter 4:10
And just 2 chapters later, Peter points out a key aspect of this role:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10 ESV)
We are chosen to serve.
He tells us we should serve one another with the gifts God has given. Whether it is teaching, helping, or in a million other ways.
A Serving Head—John 13
Perhaps somewhere in Peter’s mind he was recollecting that instance where his own master, Jesus Christ, showed what it meant to serve. At the Passover, the great festival of the Jews, he knelt and washed the feet of his disciples.
This was unthinkable!
And Peter naturally resisted it until Jesus warned him of the consequence:
Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” (John 13:8 ESV)
His followers have been servants
Like their master, Christ’s disciples have also been disciples. Multitudes have lain down their lives for the glory of God and the wellbeing of others.
I want to highlight a few.
- Paul, with such drive and zeal, persecuted Christians until God turned him around. Then he became the most energetic preacher of the gospel to Gentiles. Also, he authored more than half of the books of the NT. And oh, what he suffered!
If I was to pray for you that may your life be like that of Paul, what would you say?
- William Tyndale (1494-1536). How many of us have a copy of the Bible in English? Most or all of us.
You owe it significantly to the work of William Tyndale. If you don’t know him, please learn about him.
When it was illegal to have the Bible in languages other than Latin, he laboured to translate it from Greek into English so that the average person could read it. The authorities eventually arrested and killed him, yet his work is retained in most translations.
It was a calling to serve.
We could say the same of many others.
- I think of Mother Teresa (1910-1997), who left her country to serve the poor in India, Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968) and his tireless struggle for civil rights in America, or even Archbishop Desmond Tutu (born 1931) and his campaign against Apartheid in South Africa, and so many others.
This is to emphasize that serving takes place in every sphere. You don’t have to become a pastor in order to obey the call to serve.
We need Servants in Nigeria
Here in our beloved country, we also need servants.
Sure, we have people doing great things selflessly. We have great ministries such as the one we are standing in. But we need more. And I don’t mean just churches.
We need people who will go into the different spheres as the chosen generation that they are, and SERVE!
We need people who will serve within the business world, who will work in Education, who will attempt great things in Technology. And who will be driven by a Christian vision for service.
We need a new generation of political officeholders who will not go there to become ‘Honourable’ or ‘Your Excellency,’ but will go there to make a difference.
Where has God called you to serve?
And so, I ask you: Where has God called you to serve?
- What gifts has he given you?
- What personality has he endowed you with?
- What are your experiences?
- What burden has he placed on your heart?
I ask these questions because these are ways by which we discern where God has called us to.
Prayerfully search it out. And faithfully follow his call.
God be with you.