This morning I had the song "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills" running through my mind because tomorrow I will be preaching on giving. The song references Psalm 50:
That verse raises the question "Why do we give? After all, it's not like God needs my money!" By extension, we could also expand that question to "Why do we serve? After all, it's not like God needs my help in doing His work in this world!"
The short answer (and a perfectly legitimate answer) is "Because God commanded it!" But that answer is not sufficient, since Paul, in 2 Corinthians 9:7, tells us that we must not give "under compulsion." And fulfilment of a command is a compulsion, or responsibility.
Why do we give? Why do we serve? Because God is doing a great and wonderful work in this world, and we delight to be part of that work. Further, because He is our Father, He delights to have us join in that work with Him.
I have a three year old daughter who likes to draw with me. She'll come down to my office where I'm working and say to me, "Daddy, draw a picture with me!" So I'll pull out my art supplies, sit her in my lap, and we'll begin.
"What should we draw?" I'll ask.
"A silly creature!"
She will begin telling me what the silly creature should look like. Four arms, seven heads, three horns, and on the list goes. She laughs as I draw, and I smile as I listen to her next instruction.
When the picture is drawn, we take colored pencils in hand and work side by side on it. When the picture is complete, we sit back and admire it, and she takes it upstairs to show mama.
Here's what we all know about this activity: I don't need my daughter's help when it comes to drawing silly creatures (or anything else, for that matter). I'm perfectly capable of doing it on my own. So why do I involve her in the process? Because she's my daughter, and I delight to work side by side with her.
And why does she want to draw pictures with me? Because I am her father, so it is also her delight.
So it is with us and God. He is our Father. It is our delight, and His, to work side by side in the wonderful work He is doing in this world. Not out of compulsion, but cheerfully, for the sheer joy of working with our Heavenly Father.