Is there a penalty to be paid if I do not serve the Lord? I believe the answer is “Yes”. Let’s begin by looking at Deuteronomy 28:47-48 which says, “Because thou servest not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.”
These are mighty harsh words to those who choose not to serve the Lord! Perhaps service to the Lord is ignored because salvation is a free gift received by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:5) and cannot be lost (John 6:37-39), nor can it be affected by anything (Romans 8:38-39). If we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour our salvation is secure and we are assured of entering heaven (John 14:2-3).
How God deals with us during the present life and the giving of rewards or loss of rewards as we enter heaven are based upon our works or deeds.
Strong warnings are given throughout the Bible. II Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we (Christians) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Serving the Lord includes every activity that is specifically named or is implied as related to our Christian life (Romans 12:1-2). Such activity is not related to our salvation (eligibility to enter heaven), but has everything to do with our power, joy, fellowship, peace and rewards.
Church attendance and giving are two areas that we will look at from God’s Word. Both are specific obligations to a believer. Look at Hebrews 10:25. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” Here we are clearly told without question that we are not to forsake assembling together with other believers. The believers in our church assemble each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. Therefore, we are responsible to attend church, to assemble with other believers.
Giving. Look at I Corinthians 16:2. “Upon the first day (Sunday) of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” Every Christian is responsible to give-whether man, woman or child. We are to give a percentage of how God has prospered us. We are obligated to attend church and to give our money.
If you have joined a church, you have also made a commitment to attend with that body of believers and to give to meet the needs of its programs. Therefore, you have made a vow! God tells us that we are accountable for our vows! “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed (Ecclesiastes 5:4).”
There is no way out except to pay the vow! We cannot say that it was all a mistake. Read Ecclesiastes 5:6. “Suffer (allow) not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore, should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?”
God tells us we cannot take anything into the next world (heaven) that we can carry in our hands. “As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labours, which he may carry away in his hand (Ecclesiastes 5:15).” However, Jesus tells us how we can send treasures on ahead of us saying, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).” How much treasure have you been sending ahead for yourself? There is a time of accountability-all Christians are going to be held responsible!
The man who is living for the world and does not consider his responsibilities and obligations is the man Jesus Christ calls a fool. Consider this passage in Luke Chapter 12, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
“Sell that ye have and give alms; provide yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in the heaven that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Which do you want for yourself, a curse or a blessing? God’s blessing comes as we choose to serve Him. Begin to do the things you know that God wants you to do. As you do these, He will show more of His will (John 7:17).
“You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.” Deuteronomy 5:33.
When Christians willingly serve the Lord out of a love for their Saviour, the whole church body is blessed. When some Christians fail to serve, the whole body suffers from their lack of service. God wants to use you and bless you. Why not make a decision today to serve the Lord wholeheartedly!