If you serve in a church in any capacity, you should consider reading this book. Here are my reasons why:
This is a super engaging book – I found it very easy to read and the argument of the book was very easy to follow. John has done a great job writing this.
Serving Without Sinking deals with the heart of the matter. In fact, about the first half of the book is dedicated to discussing the many bad reasons we have for serving. John deals with bad reasons in three directions:
- We can serve to be good enough for God, get something back from God or pay Him back for what He has done.
- We sometimes serve to impress others or belong in a group.
- For me, this was the most interesting as John works through how we can serve because we think that Jesus needs us and His kingdom will fall without us. On the flip side, we sometimes become so busy serving that we do it all in our own strength and never seek Jesus blessing in prayer.
At the end of the fourth chapter, John writes something amazing. In a book about serving he writes:
“It would be better to give up serving now than to give up serving in a year because you’ve given up on Jesus…. Christianity, it turns out, has nothing to do with our service at all.”
by John Hindley
That’s right, a large portion of this book is dedicated to telling you not to serve! At least, not for the wrong reasons.
So, we turn to the right reasons and to do that, this book raises up Christ. Chapters 5 – 9 show the many ways that Jesus has served us. In fact, this is the highlight of the book for me as the reader gets to think through how wonderfully Christ has served us in becoming our friend, our bridegroom, our brother and our priest.
Lastly, Serving Without Sinking is a balanced book. I was almost all the way through the book and I was left thinking about how John had missed one component of our Christian service. He had corrected my many bad reasons for serving, shown me the wonder of the One who has served me and encouraged me to serve because Jesus has given me the gift of service. Service is a wonderful thing that allows me to become more Christ-like, breeds unity in the Church and can be done in love and joy.
However, I was wondering about what to do with the fact that the New Testament often speaks about Christians as servants of God – surely John had missed the fact that God is our master. But I had jumped the gun, John beautifully rounded out this book by addressing the fact that Christians are slaves with a master. And even here, John lifts Christ high, pointing out what a wonderful, warm, trustworthy master Jesus is.
So, if you are serving in any way, small or large, in your church, read this book. It challenges bad views, encourages right reasons for serving and left me feeling keen to serve our wonderful Saviour.
If you are not serving in your church, perhaps you should read this book too. In it you may find, as I did, a description of a God worth serving.
Review by Thomas Eglinton
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